Tinnitus is a pesky ringing, roaring, humming, hissing, clicking, whistling or whooshing sound with no external source. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding tinnitus, which can hinder people from seeking appropriate treatment. Below we review common tinnitus myths and the truths behind them.
Myth: Tinnitus Is a Disease
Truth: Tinnitus isn’t actually a disease in itself, but rather it is a symptom of an underlying problem. Tinnitus may be caused by noise exposure, neurological damage, vascular disease or a brain injury, or it may be the result of taking certain medications. Sometimes tinnitus can be managed by treating the underlying cause.
Myth: There Is No Treatment for Tinnitus
Truth: While there is no cure for tinnitus, there a lot of options for managing the condition. Treatment options include:
- Addressing the underlying cause.
- White noise machines.
- Masking devices.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT).
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
- Stress reduction/lifestyle changes.
- Hearing aids.
Myth: Hearing Aids Only Help for Hearing Loss
Truth: Hearing aids can be effective for managing tinnitus. This is because hearing aids work by “turning up” the volume of sounds in your environment, making tinnitus less noticeable. In addition, many of today’s hearing aids include tinnitus masking features.
Myth: Only People with Hearing Loss Have Tinnitus
Truth: While it is common for people with tinnitus to also have hearing loss – both as a result of damage to the inner ears – it’s also the case that many people have tinnitus without also having hearing loss.
Myth: Tinnitus Is No Big Deal
Truth: For many, tinnitus is a big deal. Symptoms can range from a mild nuisance to a debilitating experience, and just because tinnitus can’t be measured objectively don’t mean it’s not real. In fact, tinnitus can be the symptom of something serious, like heart disease or an acoustic neuroma. You should never dismiss the ringing in your ears just because you feel like it’s all in your head or like there’s nothing that can be done.
Talking to an audiologist is the first step to getting relief from your tinnitus and enjoying walks with your family around Pacific Highlands Ranch Recreation Center without experiencing symptoms.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Rancho Santa Fe Audiology today.