If you don’t have tinnitus, you probably know someone who does. One in 10 New Zealanders report hearing tinnitus, the perception of sound when no external source is present. It impacts each person differently and is a challenging symptom to treat.
Part of the difficulty in treating and managing tinnitus is determining the cause, as there is rarely an exact source. However, there are a few factors that seem to be linked to the perception of tinnitus.
1. Hearing loss: About 90% of people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss. The most effective treatment for this is hearing aids. Hearing aids help make sounds easier to hear and can also help lessen tinnitus. Bonus – they can also reduce hearing exhaustion, the effort that comes from straining to hear.
2. Ear blockages: Sometimes tinnitus can be caused by wax in the ear canal or a blockage in the middle ear. Visit your audiologist to have this checked as part of an evaluation.
3. Noise exposure: Sometimes tinnitus goes away after a few minutes or hours after a loud noise exposure. Other times it can persist for weeks, years, or even indefinitely, especially if you have a noise-induced hearing loss.
4. Medications: Certain medications have been linked to tinnitus. Ask your doctor if you notice any changes to tinnitus with medication use.
5. Injury to the head or neck: Head and neck injuries can sometimes damage the inner ear and/or the auditory nervous system. Tinnitus resulting from these injuries tends to occur most commonly on one side.
Considering all the varying causes of tinnitus, it's important to see a qualified audiologist to determine the next steps in your treatment journey. Get in touch with us to book a hearing evaluation and/or tinnitus consultation today!