All About Tinnitus: Part 2 – Identifying and Treating Tinnitus

All About Tinnitus-Part 2 - Identifying Treating Tinnitus

All About Tinnitus: Part 2 – Identifying and Treating Tinnitus

This is the second in a three-part series about tinnitus. In part one, we discussed what tinnitus is, and its prevalence and causes. This time, we’ll learn about how tinnitus is identified and treated.

 

Relationship of Tinnitus to Hearing Loss

Our hearing happens in the brain – not the ears – contrary to popular belief. Sound waves from our environment are picked up by the outer ear. Then, sound waves travel through our ear canals and reach our ear drums. At this point, our ear drums amplify sounds which then travel to the inner ear, where the vibrations are picked up by inner ear hair cells.

Our inner ear hair cells are responsible for translating vibrations into neural signals that are sent to the brain to be registered as sound. If these sensitive cells are damaged, this breaks down the auditory process. Inner ear hair cells do not regenerate once they are damaged.

Aging, exposure to loud noise, and use of aminoglycoside antibiotics are all possible factors that damage inner ear hair cells. Hearing specialists believe that when inner ear hair cells are damaged, they may be flattened or bent over – like trees in a storm. These inner ear hair cells may “leak” sound – which some specialists identify as a potential “why?”.

Tinnitus is quite common in hearing loss cases, appearing in 80% of cases. As such, the work of identifying and treating tinnitus is often a part of a hearing specialist’s responsibilities. Additionally, tinnitus may not be cured – for chronic cases, you may be prescribed a hearing aid that trains your brain to mask these sounds.

 

Relationship of Tinnitus to Hearing Loss

Our hearing happens in the brain – not the ears – contrary to popular belief. Sound waves from our environment are picked up by the outer ear. Then, sound waves travel through our ear canals and reach our ear drums. At this point, our ear drums amplify sounds which then travel to the inner ear, where the vibrations are picked up by inner ear hair cells.

Our inner ear hair cells are responsible for translating vibrations into neural signals that are sent to the brain to be registered as sound. If these sensitive cells are damaged, this breaks down the

 

Subjective Tinnitus

Subjective tinnitus, which we learned last time makes up 99% of tinnitus cases, is often linked to auditory issues. If you are experiencing tinnitus, it is important to see a hearing specialist, as they may be able to identify related auditory issues. If you are taking an aminoglycoside antibiotic, notify your doctor of your hearing changes. Often times, by addressing the hearing loss, you may find some comfort from your chronic tinnitus.

Many hearing aid manufacturers offer tinnitus therapy features on their hearing aids. To learn about which ones – tune in next time!

 

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus, the form in which both the person who may hear the sounds, as well as someone who sits in close proximity. Objective tinnitus indicates related medical issues that involve musculo-skeletal or cardiovascular conditions. Seeking medical attention for these related issues may help to lessen the symptoms of your tinnitus.

 

How Tinnitus is Treated

Though there is no definitive cure for tinnitus, there are many solutions and treatments available to alleviate the symptoms. Many hearing manufacturers offer sound therapy, with nature sounds or fractal tones. The use of sound masking has been found to reduce the frustrations of tinnitus, while also training the brain to focus on other sounds. In the case of objective tinnitus, perhaps locating the related medical condition will help to reduce or eliminate the sounds of tinnitus.

 

Next time, tune in to learn about our top picks for hearing aids that address tinnitus. And remember – if you are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your hearing specialist at one of our locations!


 

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