Do you hear buzzing, humming or ringing in the ears? You’re not alone. Nearly 50 million Americans, or 10 to 15 percent of all adults, have tinnitus—the name for this frustrating, yet common hearing sensation.
Derived from the Latin word for “ringing,” tinnitus refers to the sensation of perceiving sounds that have no external source—in other words, hearing sounds that are not there. Common sounds include ringing, roaring, humming and buzzing.
While most people experience moments or brief periods of hearing ringing in the ears at some time in their lives (usually after extended exposure to a noisy environment or following a sudden, extremely loud sound), some people experience tinnitus more regularly.
Tinnitus is not a condition itself. Usually, it’s a symptom of another condition, which means it’s important to first identify the underlying cause. Some causes, such as excess earwax buildup, hypertension and stress, anemia, or overconsumption of caffeine or cigarettes, can be treated or eliminated relatively easily.
Most of the time, tinnitus is a symptom of a larger hearing health condition. In fact, 90 percent of people with tinnitus also have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)—though they may not even be aware of it. Hearing loss changes how the brain processes sound, and tinnitus may be how the brain fills in the gaps to the missing sound frequencies.
While there’s no cure for tinnitus, Miracle-Ear hearing aids are equipped to give you lasting treatment and relief. Tinnitus treatment options include Sound Therapy, which uses soothing audio to mask the tinnitus sound, and Notch Therapy, which teaches the brain over time to ignore the tinnitus sound.