Tinnitus Overview

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus (TIN-nuh-tus), otherwise known as a “ringing of the ear,” is a condition in which you experience sounds without an external stimulus. With hearing, our ears pick up sounds from our environment which are then processed and recognized by the brain. Tinnitus, on the other hand, is a sound that comes from within.

The sounds of tinnitus vary from person to person. Tinnitus sounds are commonly described as ringing, buzzing, whistling, roaring, clicking, a rush of air, and even in rare cases, music. Chronic tinnitus lasts days, months, or years, while temporary tinnitus may last just a few seconds. To learn more about tinnitus visit us in Lakewood, CO.

Prevalence of Tinnitus

The majority of people have experienced at least one bout of tinnitus – even if it lasts just a few seconds. An estimated 30 million Americans experience tinnitus, with some 13 million experiencing tinnitus without hearing loss. The US Centers for Disease Control estimate that “roughly 20 million people struggle with burdensome chronic tinnitus, while 2 million have extreme and debilitating cases.” Approximately 40% of people with tinnitus report that they experience it 80% of their day. One in four people with tinnitus report their tinnitus as loud.

Tinnitus may occur to anyone, at any age; statistics show that 27% of people age 65-84 experience some form of tinnitus. Additionally, 60% of veterans returning from combat zones report tinnitus, along with hearing loss. The US Centers for Disease Control reports that nearly 15% of the general public have experienced some form of tinnitus.

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There are two main types of tinnitus: subjective and objective.
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Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Tinnitus and hearing loss often appear hand-in-hand. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, about 90% of tinnitus cases occur with an underlying hearing loss. Tinnitus and hearing loss are believed to share similar causes – such as damage to inner ear hair cells, as mentioned above. Some researchers suggest that damaged inner ear hair cells “leak” neural signals, which may be processed by the brain as sound.
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Tinnitus Treatment

As with hearing loss, there is no cure for tinnitus. However, in some cases, treating related conditions (such as lowering one’s blood pressure or ceasing ototoxic medication) could reduce or even eliminate tinnitus.

Because tinnitus and hearing loss so commonly appear in conjunction, hearing aid manufacturers have created devices that provide relief for people who suffer from tinnitus. Hearing aids often offer a tinnitus therapy or masking function, which helps mitigate the sounds of tinnitus with a static sound. Coupled with increased access to amplified sounds, hearing aids with tinnitus treatment make it easier for people to lead normal lives. Visit us in Lakewood, CO to learn more about tinnitus treatment.

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