Have Ringing Ears? Start Here: A Guide for Managing Tinnitus Symptoms

Discover effective strategies for managing tinnitus and enhancing your quality of life with expert care, offering relief from persistent ear ringing.

Have Ringing Ears? Start Here: A Guide for Managing Tinnitus Symptoms

by Dr. Kevin Ivory

If you've been experiencing a constant ringing, buzzing, or humming in your ears, you're not alone. Tinnitus affects millions of people worldwide, and its impact ranges from a minor annoyance to a major disruption in your daily life. Understanding tinnitus and managing its symptoms can make a significant difference in your quality of life. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for tinnitus, there are various treatment options and strategies that can effectively manage tinnitus and improve your quality of life. At Glendora Hearing & Audiology, our Audiologist Dr. Kevin Ivory is here to guide you on your journey towards relief 

Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears without an external sound source. It can manifest as various sounds, including buzzing, whooshing, clicking, or hissing. Tinnitus is a common condition affecting millions worldwide and people of all ages. It is important to understand that tinnitus is not a disease but rather a symptom of an underlying issue. These conditions can vary widely, from hearing loss and ear infections to exposure to loud noises and certain medications.

The Connection Between Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

One of the most common causes of tinnitus is hearing loss, especially age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) and noise-induced hearing loss. When the tiny hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, the brain attempts to compensate by creating its own sounds, which are perceived as tinnitus. In fact, up to 90% of tinnitus cases are accompanied by some degree of hearing loss.

While it is commonly associated with hearing loss, it can also be caused by other factors, such as circulatory problems, certain medications, or head injuries. A comprehensive evaluation by a Doctor of Audiology is crucial to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. 

Causes of Tinnitus

The causes of tinnitus can vary greatly, including:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ear infection or blockages - buildup of wax or fluid in the middle ear
  • Head or neck injuries - trauma can damage of the inner ear or auditory nerve
  • Medical conditions  - high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes can all contribute to tinnitus
  • Medications - Certain medications can cause tinnitus as a size effect; be sure to check with your medical provider before making any changes to your prescriptions.
  • Exposure to loud noise - can damage inner ear hair cells.

Finding Relief from Tinnitus

Tinnitus can affect people differently, with varying intensities and frequencies. Some experience it intermittently, while others experience it constantly. While tinnitus can be temporary, unmanaged chronic tinnitus can cause ongoing stress and frustration in daily life. The persistent sounds of ringing can disrupt sleep, productivity, and overall well-being. Constant noise can also trigger anxiety, depression, and social isolation. 

Seeking professional help from a Doctor of Audiology and adopting effective management strategies is crucial to breaking free from the ongoing noise of tinnitus. Dr. Kevin Ivory can help identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment options to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

Effective Tinnitus Management Strategies

While there is no one-size-fits-all cure for tinnitus, several effective strategies can help manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are some proven approaches:

1. Hearing Aids

For those with hearing loss-related tinnitus, hearing aids can be incredibly effective. By amplifying external sounds, healing aids can effectively reduce the contrast between the tinnitus and one’s surrounding environment. Many modern hearing aids often come with tinnitus masking features, which introduce white noise or other soothing sounds to help mask the tinnitus. This combination of amplification and sound therapy can significantly improve the quality of life for those struggling with tinnitus. 

2. Sound Therapy

Sound therapy involves using external noise to alter the perception of tinnitus. This can include white noise machines that produce a calming static sound, specialized ear-level maskers that deliver customized sounds directly to your ears, or even smartphone apps designed for tinnitus relief. By introducing a more pleasant or neutral sound, sound therapy (often found in hearing aids as well) aims to redirect your brain’s focus away from the tinnitus, which can provide much needed relief. Sound therapy can also help retrain the brain to habituate to the tinnitus, which can reduce its perceived intensity over time. 

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of counseling that helps you change the way you think about and react to tinnitus. It doesn’t eliminate the sound but can reduce the distress and improve your ability to cope with the symptoms. CBT helps you focus on identifying and then modifying a negative thought pattern or certain behaviors that could exacerbate your tinnitus. CBT helps reframe the perception of tinnitus and can significantly improve your quality of life. 

4. Stress Management

Stress and anxiety can exacerbate tinnitus. Incorporating relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine can help manage the stress that may be contributing to your tinnitus.

5. Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle adjustments can also help manage tinnitus symptoms. These include:

  • Diet: Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake can help as they can aggravate tinnitus.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve blood flow to the ear and reduce stress.
  • Sleep: Ensuring you get enough rest can help your body handle the tinnitus better.

Offering Hope: Real Solutions Exist

Dealing with tinnitus can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are real solutions available. Advances in audiology have provided numerous tools and therapies that can significantly reduce the impact of tinnitus on your life. Whether through hearing aids, sound therapy, or counseling, there is hope and help available.

Tinnitus Relief at Glendora Hearing & Audiology

At Glendora Hearing & Audiology, we are committed to providing personalized care for each patient. Dr. Kevin Ivory and our experienced team understand the complexities of tinnitus and are dedicated to finding the right solution for you. Our comprehensive approach includes detailed assessments, customized treatment plans, and ongoing support to ensure you find the relief you need. Don’t let tinnitus control your life! With the right support and strategies, you can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Contact us to learn more and take the first step toward better hearing and a more peaceful mind.

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr. Kevin H. Ivory
Audiologist & University Instructor
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Dr. Kevin Ivory, Au.D., CCC-A received his Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then went on to earn his Doctor of Audiology degree from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, one of the top 10 audiology residential programs in the country.

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