Tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears, is something that can be intermittent or continuous. You could hear ringing, hissing, chirping or numerous other sounds. It can be worse when the noise in the background is low which means that an individual could be more aware of it at night or when they are trying to fall asleep. If you are diagnosed as having tinnitus, there are different treatments, mainstream and alternative, that can help an individual to hear better.
The most important thing for any individual is to see if the tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Treating that should be a priority but if the tinnitus remains after the treatment or has arisen from loud noise exposure there are different approaches that can help.
If you have some hearing loss hearing aids may prove helpful. There are numerous types of hearing aids. The stigma for many people is that hearing aids are bulky devices that haven’t gone beyond the 1970s. These days, hearing aids are very subtle and can help an individual with hearing loss to live a better life. There are three main types of hearing aids:
- Behind the ear (BTE): The hearing aid is placed on top of the ear and behind it. The hearing aid connects to the ear canal via a tip or a tube. This is the most common type of hearing aid and is a very discreet design. Many can feel self-conscious about wearing a hearing aid meaning this type can suit most people’s lifestyles.
- In the ear (ITE): As the name suggests, this device sits inside your ear. There are different types of ITE hearing aid, such as completely in canal (CIC) and invisible in canal (IIC). CIC has many different sizes and shapes and is visible to other people but the IIC is concealed. The main obstruction in fitting these types of hearing aids is if the ear canal is too narrow or small.
- Receiver in canal (RIC): They are similar to BTE hearing aids, but the difference is that the speaker has been removed from the case. While it is usually at the back of the ear, it is fitted into your ear canal using a thin wire to connect the hearing aid to the speaker. As a result, this is an incredibly discrete design. The wire sits along the crease of your face at the top of the ear, minimizing recognition by others. The great benefit of this type of receiver is that it is changeable. If you start to get progressive hearing loss, this type of hearing aid can be altered accordingly. And from a practical perspective, this device does not need to go for a receiver change or repair and can be swapped over right away.
This is a very similar device to a hearing aid but with the big difference that it plays a sound into the ear, therefore, masking the tinnitus. This proves useful if you find yourself distracted by noise, especially at night. A new version of the device combines the masking technique as well as the hearing aid.
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
As tinnitus proves to be a very distracting condition, tinnitus retraining therapy relies on the brain’s natural ability to filter out a signal on a subconscious level. Also known as habituation, our brain filters out many auditory sounds such as refrigerators or air conditioners. TRT can consist of the person with the condition playing a neutral sound wherever they go, as well as wearing in-the-ear sound generators. The other approach is to receive one-on-one counseling, which can take 12 to 24 months but is a highly successful approach.
Other methods of tinnitus treatment
There are some alternative methods that can also help. As well as counseling techniques like cognitive therapy there are relaxation techniques like biofeedback as well as prescriptions of anti-anxiety medications.
Some professionals can believe that tinnitus is caused by the temporomandibular joint, where the jaw bone attaches to the head in front of the ear. Dental treatment may relieve symptoms of tinnitus in this respect due to the proximity of the muscles and nerves in the jaw.
Tinnitus can be a debilitating condition but as you can see there are numerous treatments available if you think this is the problem. Hear Here Audiology can give you advice on how to progress, contact us at 727-289-1212 and get yourself booked in for a consultation.