Tinnitus, often called ringing in your ears, occurs in 15-20% of adults. Though it can begin in childhood, it usually goes unnoticed until an individual is old enough to realize it's not part of normal hearing. The physicians at Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, with offices in Chelmsford, Woburn, and Concord, Massachusetts, and Nashua and Derry, New Hampshire, can complete a thorough exam, identify an underlying cause when possible, and create a personalized treatment to give you relief from tinnitus. If you struggle with ringing in your ears, call the nearest office or book online today.
Tinnitus occurs when you hear a sound that others can't hear because it comes from inside your body. Though many people refer to tinnitus as ringing in the ears, the condition causes a variety of noises, including:
In addition to hearing different sounds, other qualities associated with tinnitus vary from one person to the next.
Tinnitus may affect one or both ears. You may hear it all the time or only occasionally. The sound could be high- or low-pitched. Some people hear soft sounds, while others have such loud tinnitus that it blocks their ability to hear real sounds.
Tinnitus may not have a physical cause. However, the condition also develops as a result of an underlying ear condition, such as:
Though not as common, blood vessel disease, stress, and certain medications may cause ringing in your ears.
If a thorough exam reveals an underlying ear condition, your Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates provider treats that problem. When you have one-sided tinnitus or tinnitus associated with hearing loss, they do a complete hearing test.
Treatments that directly target tinnitus include:
Using a white noise machine or other masking device helps block out the sound you hear.
People who have ringing in the ears and hearing loss may need a hearing aid that also masks tinnitus.
For this treatment, you wear headphones and listen to music that has an embedded acoustic signal. The signal desensitizes you to the sound caused by tinnitus.
CBT is a time-limited therapeutic approach that teaches patients how to cope with the negative impact ongoing tinnitus has on their life. For example, your provider may recommend CBT if tinnitus interferes with your sleep or causes chronic stress or anxiety. Many patients who have a hard time tolerating tinnitus find that CBT significantly improves their quality of life.
If you have bothersome tinnitus, or you're worried that you also have hearing loss, call Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates or book an appointment online today.