Tinnitus FAQS

Does Tinnitus Mean Hearing Loss?

Tinnitus is experienced by many people with hearing loss. However, not everyone with tinnitus has a hearing loss. It is possible to have normal hearing and still have tinnitus.

I Have Tinnitus. What’s Next?

The first thing you should do is have a medical evaluation and a hearing test by licensed professionals. It is important to have a medical examination to determine if there is an underlying condition causing your tinnitus.

Is Tinnitus a Common Problem?

Approximately 24 million people in the United States have tinnitus. Most people experience occasional ringing or sounds in the ear at least one time or another. Tinnitus varies greatly among individuals ranging from a mild occasional sound to an ever present chronic condition. Some people report their tinnitus is so bothersome that it interferes with their quality of life.

What Can Make My Tinnitus Worse?

Avoid exposure to loud sounds such as power tools, motorcycles, guns, etc., which may make the existing tinnitus worse. Excessive use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, stress and fatigue may also make the tinnitus worse.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Although there are many theories about what causes tinnitus or how tinnitus occurs, there is no scientific consensus to its origin at the moment. Some causes of tinnitus result from a blow to the head, large doses of aspirin, anemia, noise exposure, stress, impacted wax, hypertension and certain types of medications and tumors.

What is the Treatment for Tinnitus?

Since tinnitus is a symptom associated with various disorders, there is no single treatment that will help everyone. The most effective treatment is the removal or prevention of the cause. Unfortunately, the cause of tinnitus cannot always be identified or corrected. Therefore, tinnitus itself may need to be treated.

The various treatment options for tinnitus include:

Use of amplification (hearing aids): This allows the hearing aid wearer to hear background sounds in the environment, which takes away the focus on the tinnitus.
Tinnitus masker: This resembles a hearing aid that produces a selected band of noise (shhh sound) that is perceived as a more pleasant sound than the tinnitus. Some people experience reduction or elimination of tinnitus after the masking noise is removed.
Biological feedback: This teaches the patient a relaxation process which enables one to control his or her response to stress. Psychologists typically provide this type of treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This is an approach which helps one to identify negative thought and behaviors and shift them into positive ones. How one thinks about his or her tinnitus effects the ability to cope with it.

Drug therapy for tinnitus treatment: This is also used in the treatment of anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation.

Tinnitus retraining therapy: This teaches tinnitus sufferers to suppress the debilitating effects of tinnitus. Consult a trained therapist for advice.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a psychological noise — the medical term for roaring, buzzing, clicking, whistling, hissing, or high pitched ringing in the ears or inside the head. Tinnitus may be constant or occur intermittently in one ear or both ears.

Why is My Tinnitus Worse at Night?

The distractions of everyday activity, as well as background sounds or noises, tend to make your tinnitus less noticeable during the day. However, at night when your surroundings are quieter, your tinnitus may seem constant or louder.