How and Why You Should Seek a Tinnitus Diagnosis
Many people experience a lack of focus, exhaustion, and irritability from time to time. However, when these problems become chronic, it can be a sign of a deeper, underlying issue. For people who regularly experience ringing in their ears, this issue is tinnitus.
The human brain is good at filtering out noise. However, this is a taxing process, and it can make you feel mentally drained by the end of the day. If you’re constantly ignoring your tinnitus, you can begin feeling tired and irritated. You might not even realize that tinnitus is your problem. A diagnosis can help you recognize the issue, and work to begin rectifying it.
Do I Have Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is characterized as prolonged, chronic noise in the ears. Ringing is not the only sound that can manifest as tinnitus. Some people experience buzzing, humming, hissing, and even roaring. The depth, pitch, and tone of this sound can vary. The sound can also come and go, get louder or quieter, and interfere with your ability to hear clearly. Sometimes, you might have no problem tuning out the sound, while other times you might struggle to concentrate.
As mentioned above, tinnitus can cause mental fatigue, cloudy thoughts, insomnia, and frustration. People with tinnitus might struggle to enjoy silence, and feel antsy when they’re left without background noise. If you regularly find yourself distracted by the noise in your ears, or frequently notice a high pitched ringing or roaring behind everything else you hear, you likely have tinnitus.
These phantom noises in your ears can also cause dizziness and nausea when they get extremely loud. They might prevent you from sleeping, and interfere with work, relationships, and your free time. Tinnitus can seriously impact someone’s life, and extreme cases can be seriously detrimental to your mental and physical health. Regardless of how intense your tinnitus is, you should seek help and try to determine the cause of your tinnitus.
Why Do My Ears Ring?
Tinnitus can have many causes, and the treatment of this issue depends on the condition it stems from. Tinnitus is not a condition on its own; it’s actually a symptom of a larger problem. For many people, this problem can be hearing loss, TMJ, or circulatory issues. There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Objective tinnitus can be observed by a doctor. If the doctor is able to hear your tinnitus, your problems may be caused by a blood vessel or middle ear issue. However, this form of tinnitus is rare.
Most cases of tinnitus are subjective, meaning that you are the only one capable of hearing it. These cases are usually caused by hearing loss, though certain injuries and disorders like TMJ can result in tinnitus as well. For the most part, hearing loss makes up most of the tinnitus cases in adults.
Many people wonder: is tinnitus permanent? While that largely depends on the cause of your tinnitus, most cases are chronic. This doesn’t mean you cannot overcome them, however. Treatment has come a long way, and there are options to help you lead a normal life despite your tinnitus.
In order to treat tinnitus that is caused by hearing loss, you have to get your hearing loss diagnosed. This can involve a hearing test, a trip to the audiologist, and an assessment of your options.
Before you can move on and begin solving your tinnitus-related issues, you have to get diagnosed with hearing loss first. Luckily, this process is not as complicated as one might think, and can benefit you in other ways as well.
How to Diagnose Tinnitus
The first step to diagnosing tinnitus is recognizing that you might have it. The previous section touched on the symptoms of tinnitus, and how they might affect your mood, health, and general wellbeing. However, many people stop at this step. Once they find out that tinnitus has no “cure”, they assume that seeking help would be pointless. They could not be farther from the truth. Once you have a proper diagnosis, you can begin seeking personalized treatment for your condition. If your tinnitus is caused by something easily alleviated, you can work on solving that problem.
In order to get a tinnitus diagnosis, you need to find a doctor in your area. A doctor can determine whether you’re tinnitus is subjective or objective, and help you figure out what might be causing your tinnitus. If you do not have circulatory issues, TMJ, an ear canal injury, or other form of observable condition, they might send you to an audiologist.
By performing an audiogram, and audiologist can check your hearing and see if your tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, if this is the case, you have options for treatment.
Seeking Treatment For Tinnitus
While the treatment for TMJ, circulatory issues, and ear blockages are typically the same across the board, tinnitus caused by hearing loss can be treated in a number of ways.
For one, many people choose to explore the idea of getting hearing aids. Many people who suffer from tinnitus find that their hearing has degraded greatly, but they only notice the ringing in their ears. Once they are fitted with hearing aids, they realize that they have been missing a full range of sound.
If you are incompatible with hearing aids, or have reasons for avoiding them, there are other options. Tinnitus maskers produce sound that will “drown out” your tinnitus, making it easier to focus and sleep. Many hearing aids contain tinnitus maskers, though there are models that only function as maskers. While tinnitus maskers are smaller, more focused versions of white noise machines, general white noise machines can help with tinnitus as well. If you are alone at home, these can be used to help you fall asleep or relax.
Regardless of how you choose to treat your tinnitus, it’s important that you seek diagnosis first. It’s hard to know what is causing your tinnitus, and it cannot be properly treated until you receive a medical examination. Search for trustworthy doctors and audiologists in your area, and don’t hesitate to contact them if you think you might be suffering from tinnitus. You might not even know how much you’re missing.