Put simply, tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head where no external source is present. Some call it "ringing in the ears" or "head noise." You may be new to the experience of tinnitus, or you may have been suffering with it for a long time. This condition affects 1 in 5 people.
Tinnitus is pronounced either ti-NIGHT-us or TIN-i-tus. Both pronunciations are correct. The word is of Latin origin, meaning "to ring or tinkle like a bell." In almost all cases, tinnitus is a subjective noise, meaning that only the person who has tinnitus can hear it. People describe hearing different sounds: ringing, hissing, static, crickets, screeching, whooshing, roaring, pulsing, ocean waves, buzzing, dial tones, even music.
There are two types of tinnitus: Subjective tinnitus; sounds only you can hear, which is most common. Objective tinnitus; head or ear noises audible to other people as well as the patient.
Although there have been tremendous advances through research on what is known about the auditory (hearing) system, the exact physiological cause or causes of tinnitus are not known. There are, however, several likely sources, all of which are known to trigger or worsen tinnitus.
Read about the risks of loud noise and how you can avoid damage to your ears. Learn how to properly insert and wear earplugs. Music is both magical and menacing. For many people, loud music causes tinnitus. Most at risk are: music lovers with the volume cranked up on their MP3 players, home or car stereo systems or CD players.
The simple answer is yes. This is why we stress the importance of discussing your particular tinnitus situation with a qualified professional at Southwest Ohio ENT Specialists or Hillcrest Hearing & Balance Center.
Amplification - Some tinnitus patients with hearing loss experience total or partial tinnitus relief while wearing hearing aids. There are many variables that determine success. However, if a patient has a hearing loss in the frequency range of the tinnitus, hearing aids may bring back in the ambient sounds that naturally cover the tinnitus.
Sound Therapy - Various treatment strategies use sound to decrease the loudness or prominence of tinnitus. Sound therapies include both wearable (hearing aid-like devices) and non-wearable devices (such as table-top sound machines or even a whirring fan). Often, sound is used to completely or partially cover the tinnitus. Some people refer to this covering of sound as masking. Sound therapies should always be combined with counseling.
For an in-depth look at Tinnitus, please refer to the American Tinnitus Association website at www.ata.org
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