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What Is Tinnitus And What Can I Do About It?

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Patient Resources, Tinnitus

Hearing loss isn’t the only reason you should take care of your ears. Tinnitus is a widespread condition among Americans, and in many cases, it is preventable.

I’ve treated thousands of tinnitus patients over the years and learned a lot from them. If you’re wondering if you or a loved one has tinnitus, then here is some preliminary information on this specific condition.

What Is Your Definition Of Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is defined as noises heard in either one ear or both. It can sometimes be centralized as well. These noises can present themselves in many ways, such as ringing, buzzing, hissing, or whistling.

Most patients report hearing sounds coming from the middle of their head. It may be constant, or it may come and go and could be a combination of both. It is very often associated with hearing loss.

What Are The Different Types Of Tinnitus?

There are two different types of tinnitus. Both produce sound, but the cause differs. The only way to properly diagnose and treat your tinnitus is to have a comprehensive tinnitus evaluation.  

Once we have all the information and know which form of tinnitus you have, we can proceed with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Subjective – This is the more common type between the two and is any sound that only the patient can hear. This is usually caused by the brain creating sounds due to a lack of auditory activity.

Objective – The rarer of the two, objective tinnitus can sometimes be heard by your audiologist. It’s a sound created by a physical issue within the ear. With so many small and fragile bones within your ear, they can sometimes cause friction and produce a sound.

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What Are The Treatment Options?

To this day, there is still no cure for tinnitus. There have been cases where the condition goes away on its own, but these are few and far between.  

We address the underlying problems to reduce the effects of tinnitus.

The first step is to perform a tinnitus assessment. This will give us all the data we need to properly diagnose and then treat your specific condition with one of the following methods.

Prescription Hearing Aids – This is the most popular treatment due to its success. Technology allows us to treat specific forms of tinnitus by making custom adjustments to your hearing aids. Only prescription hearing aids are this advanced. Most over-the-counter products severely lack the technology to assist patients properly. 

White Noise Machines – For mild cases of tinnitus, we can drown out your tinnitus sound or distract your brain from creating it with an artificial sound of your choosing. This system provides temporary relief but is effective.

Earwax Removal – Sometimes, a thorough cleaning is all that is needed. Impacted earwax can limit the sounds your brain hears and thus causes it to create a tinnitus sound.

Changing medications – Disclosing to your audiologist all medications you are currently taking is essential. These medications can have side effects that cause tinnitus, and the cure could be as simple as replacing them with an alternate product.

Concerned That You Or A Loved One Has Tinnitus?

The only guaranteed way to find out if you have tinnitus is to schedule a diagnostic tinnitus evaluation with a professional. This painless and non-invasive procedure will provide us with all the information needed to make a proper diagnosis.

If left unattended, your tinnitus will only progress and become more debilitating. Don’t wait for it to get worse; the best weapon we have against tinnitus is prevention.

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Virginia Wright, AuD.

Virginia (Ginny) Wright has practiced as an audiologist for almost 40 years, primarily in the Upstate, but also in settings as varied as Philadelphia, PA and Key West, FL. An active participant in community and professional associations, she is a Past President of the South Carolina Academy of Audiology as well as a former member of the South Carolina Board of Licensing in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Dr. Wright received her B.S. in Speech Pathology from Mississippi University for Women, her M.A. in Audiology from The University of Tennessee, and her clinical doctorate (AuD) in Audiology from Arizona School of Health Sciences. Her commitment to her patients is evident in her enthusiasm to help them on their journey to better hearing. Dr. Wright loves movies, documentaries, dining out, reading, and spending time with friends. She lives in Greer with her two cats, Lana and Helen.

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