The American Tinnitus Association finds that tinnitus, or ringing in ears, affects over 45 million Americans. The condition is typically an occupational hazard related to hearing loss caused by noise exposure, but it could have causes outside of this.
Facts about tinnitus
While men may experience tinnitus more than women, no one is immune to tinnitus. It is believed that people who work in the louder professions, such as construction and military careers, are a factor in causing tinnitus. Active military and veterans often experience it due to their persistent close proximity to gunfire and explosives.
Tinnitus is more common in the elderly— this is probably linked to age-related hearing loss. Musicians are also common sufferers of ringing in ears— which would be related to noise-induced hearing loss. Exposure to loud noise is the most common cause of tinnitus.
Other unusual causes of tinnitus
Some other unusual causes may be to blame for this condition. If a person is experiencing tinnitus and it is not the result of loud noises, they should have a professional check their ears in case another health condition is to blame. A concussion could cause tinnitus. If a person bumps their head and the ringing is only in one ear or accompanies a headache, vertigo and nausea, a concussion is a probable cause.
Many antibiotics and antidepressants can cause Tinnitus. It is important to review possible side effects when discussing medication with a doctor. If a person is experiencing this condition and thinks it may be related to their medication, they need to schedule an appointment with their doctor immediately.
Abnormal fluid buildup, TMJ disorders (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), head or neck injuries, tumors and otosclerosis (abnormal hardening of bone in the ear) are other possible causes of tinnitus. Thus, it is important to seek out medical advice if any ringing is present. After determining a cause, it will be possible to determine an effective treatment.
White noise and music via headphones are two self-help treatments that may take a person’s mind off of the ringing if it is not an invasive case. Cognitive behavioral therapy including tips on how to breathe deeply and relax the muscles in the face and neck may provide some relief.
Tinnitus retraining therapy combines sound therapy with awareness and education about the condition to reduce the fear and anxiety surrounding tinnitus. It essentially trains the brain to not react to the sound. Medication may be prescribed if the doctor believes the tinnitus is related to anxiety or depression.
If this is the cause, medication may help the root of the problem and diminish tinnitus as a symptom. Massage or chiropractic care may help if the tinnitus is related to tension in the muscles or anxiety. If it is determined the ringing is related to hearing loss solely, hearing aids may provide relief.
Call us to learn more
To learn more about tinnitus and to find a treatment customized to your exact needs, visit our office. Ringing in ears can be a maddening feeling, but scheduling an appointment with our office today with get you closer to relief.