Tinnitus is characterized as ringing in the ears that does not get better or go away. In some patients it can take the form of high pitched sounds. It is very common in people over the age of 40. It has also been found that men suffer from tinnitus more often than women.

Frequent Signs and Symptoms

It may be described as ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling, or a hissing sound. The sound may be continuous, intermittent, or synchronized with the heart beat. Tinnitus is normally associated with hearing loss, but it may occur in other situations without significant hearing loss. Tinnitus often decreases over time but in some cases may remain permanent.

Causes of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a disease; it is a symptom that something is wrong in the auditory system, which includes the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound. The most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss that occurs with aging. It may also be a symptom of almost any ear disorder. Other possible causes of tinnitus include:

  • A buildup of earwax
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Ear and Sinus Infections
  • Diseases of the heart or blood vessels
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Thyroid abnormalities

Risk Increases With

  • Hearing loss
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Otosclerosis
  • Aneurysm or tumor in the head (rare)
  • Certain medications (antibiotics, diuretics and others)
  • ototoxicity
  • high or low blood pressure
  • head trauma
  • thyroid disorders
  • labyrinthitis
  • otitis media or externa
  • earwax blockage
  • anemia
  • foreign body in the ear
  • allergies

Preventative Measures

Certain stressors (such as nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine) should be avoided as they have been found to increase tinnitus. Avoid getting over fatigued as it may worsen the tinnitus.

Treatment

We can evaluate your tinnitus. We recommend a full ear, nose & throat evaluation as well as an audiogram. We may recommend further studies such as an MRI or CT scan.

Treatment of an underlying disorder is an integral part in the treatment of tinnitus. Other recommendations include Lipoflavanoids, noise generators, hearing aids with masking technology, and distraction/relaxation methods.

Zen – Relief for Tinnitus

Widex developed the Zen programs to help tinnitus sufferers relax and make tinnitus less noticeable.

Inspired by the relaxing effect of certain types of music, Widex developed the Zen programs. Zen is a unique music program available in some Widex hearing aids. Based on what is known as fractal technology, Zen plays random, chime-like tones that can be used for relaxation and for making tinnitus less noticeable.

Your hearing care professional can adjust each Zen program according to your preferences in terms of pitch, tempo and volume. Your hearing aid can also be provided with different programs to suit varying situations and purposes.

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