Understanding Tinnitus: Why do I have this noise in my ears?

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

If you have tinnitus, which is very occasional and lasts a very short amount of time, there is nothing pressing that you need to do for that type of tinnitus. However, when the tinnitus is more consuming, lasting longer periods of time, is distracting or is causing you anxiety, then you should consider having a conversation with your Primary Physician, an Audiologist or an Ear Nose Throat physician. If the tinnitus is unilateral, pulsing, persistent and overwhelming, then that is when you should definitely seek help and answers for the tinnitus. 

Ask yourself the questions: 
Is it occasional or is it persistent?
Is it in one ear or both ears?
Did it come on suddenly?
Is it associated with other things like ear pressure or fullness, ear pain, dizziness, hearing loss?
Is it causing me anxiety?
Is it causing me to not hear others when they are speaking?

If you answered #1, there is likely nothing wrong with the tinnitus you are experiencing. However, if you are experiencing the tinnitus in only one ear and with more of the questions of #2-#6, then you should consider seeing a professional to get more information. 

When should you see an audiologist?

You should see an Audiologist when you are having ongoing tinnitus, unilateral tinnitus, and additional symptoms like ear pressure, ear pain, dizziness and hearing loss. Often the tinnitus is a sign of hearing loss because tinnitus and hearing loss are often found paired together. 

An Audiologist is a great place to start because they can do a hearing test, gather important information about your tinnitus (when it started, which ear, type of tinnitus, etc), complete a thorough hearing test and provide detailed information to your Primary Physician or suggest that you go to see an Ear Nose Throat specialist. The road to understanding and dealing with your tinnitus often begins and ends with an Audiologist and is collaborated with other professionals, when needed. The Audiologist is a center point of information and will help you discern your next steps in your journey with tinnitus. 

If you are referred to your Primary Physician or an Ear Nose Throat, and there is no medical or surgical answer to helping you with your tinnitus (which includes medical clearance from your physician), then it is often the case that hearing aids help you to overcome the tinnitus and keep your ear busy during the day so the tinnitus is not as overwhelming. Hearing aids can’t eliminate tinnitus but they can help you to decrease your anxiety and the magnitude of the tinnitus. 

In addition, there are tinnitus management techniques that you can use to help decrease the tinnitus that you are having during the day.

What if the sounds in my ear do not go away?

If the tinnitus does not “go away” then you should see your local Audiologist for a hearing test and consultation. It is always best to choose an Audiologist that specializes in tinnitus treatment. There are professionals that test hearing, that have no training or understanding in tinnitus. It is best to choose a professional that has knowledge and the ability to have conversations with you about your tinnitus and how to best alleviate the tinnitus from interrupting and interfering with your life. 

 What Risks Increase Chances of Tinnitus?

The most common risks for developing tinnitus are:
  •  Noise exposure over time or a sudden impact noise (like gunfire too close or an explosion near your ear)
  •  Hearing loss
  •  Medication
  •  Stress
  •  Certain cancer treatments

Are there treatments that can help me?

Optimum Audiology has been in the business of helping people hear and helping individuals with tinnitus for 30 years. Dr. Mendoza specializes in tinnitus, hearing loss, amplification and aural rehabilitation. 

There are several treatments available for those who suffer with tinnitus. This can include hearing aids, assistive devices, aural rehabilitation, tinnitus management, and a combination of all of these treatments. 

To determine what is best for you, please give Optimum Audiology a call at 760-503-1700 for help with the best solution and treatment for you.