Tinnitus is the ringing in the ears or head. It is noise heard in one or both ears that is described by different people in various ways. Tinnitus can manifest as a ringing, buzzing, humming or similar noise you hear even though there is no outside source for the sound. Sometimes tinnitus is mild and can only be heard by the patient when the room is quiet. Other times it is so loud that the patient cannot hear people speak. 

Though the exact cause of tinnitus remains unknown, contributing factors and triggers have been identified. Excessive exposure to loud noise is often a factor because of the damage done to your auditory system. Tinnitus may also result from jaw-joint dysfunction (e.g., teeth grinding, temporomandibular joint disorder) or chronic neck muscle strain.

More than 50% of tinnitus sufferers have hearing loss

Research shows a frequent correlation between tinnitus and hearing loss. Because tinnitus is perceived differently by each sufferer, an exact diagnosis is essential. The pitch and volume of tinnitus can be determined by special diagnostic test, and a hearing test can reveal whether hearing loss is also involved. Treatment with hearing aids is often the first step to relief from tinnitus. Hearing aids compensate for hearing loss, which enables concentration on external sounds instead of internal noises.

Common causes of Tinnitus:

     Impacted ear wax

     Noise-induced hearing loss

     Perforation of the eardrum

     fluid buildup in the middle ear

     High or low blood pressure

     Certain medications

What can make Tinnitus worse?

     Overexposure to loud noise - This can worsen tinnitus and hearing loss. We highly recommend wearing hearing protection in noisy environments.

     Under-exposure to sound - The lack of sound can make tinnitus seem louder. Which can make your tinnitus especially noticeable at bedtime and in other quiet environments. Playing a quiet, steady background sound can help you drowned out the tinnitus.

     Certain medications - There are certain medications that are ototoxic and can make tinnitus worse. Always consult your physicians about the tinnitus you are experiencing.

     Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine -  These things can worsen tinnitus. There are also foods that patients find aggravate their tinnitus. To determine if a particular food or substance causes this, we suggest avoiding the food or substance in question for one month and then slowly reintroduce it into your diet. Any worsening of the tinnitus would be noticeable after the reintroduction.

     Stress - It’s not clear why, but stress can worsen tinnitus. Researchers believe that there may be a relation between anxiety and stress and the way they affect tinnitus. Taking measures to reduce stress and anxiety should help reduce tinnitus.

Approximately 50 million adults suffer from Tinnitus. While you may have been told there is no cure, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to find relief and restore your peace of mind. You can learn to live with tinnitus by finding out how to control it instead of letting it control you.