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Common Questions About Tinnitus

Get answers to your tinnitus FAQs.

Tinnitus FAQs

Tinnitus, often described as a persistent ringing in the ears, is a common occurrence affecting many Americans. However, tinnitus is a complex topic with several possible underlying causes, as well as ways to treat and manage it. Miracle-Ear tackles some of the questions we receive most often about tinnitus. 

Tinnitus is the sensation of perceiving sounds that have no external source, physically hearing sounds that aren’t there. Many individuals describe their tinnitus as sounding like a ringing at a specific frequency.

Tinnitus is quite common, affecting almost 15% of adults. That means more than 50,000,000 adults in the U.S. could be living with tinnitus right now. 

Tinnitus is not a condition in and of itself. Rather, tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition. There are many conditions that can cause tinnitus, so it’s important to consult a medical professional if you believe you are experiencing tinnitus. You can start with your GP or primary care physician or book an appointment with a Miracle-Ear hearing specialist. 

Most people experience tinnitus briefly at some point in their lives, usually after a prolonged exposure to a noisy environment or following a sudden, extremely loud sound. However, some individuals experience persistent tinnitus that does not dissipate in a matter of hours or days. 

Common sounds people hear include ringing, roaring, humming and buzzing. The kind of sound people experience changes from person to person. 

There’s no way to tell if you have tinnitus without an assessment from a trained medical professional. With over 1,500 locations nationwide, it is likely that there is a Miracle-Ear near you that can help. Find your closest Miracle-Ear location today and book an appointment if you think you may be experiencing tinnitus. In the meanwhile, for a first light assessment you can take our free online tinnitus test.

Pulsatile tinnitus is a type of tinnitus closely connected to the blood vessels. High blood pressure can make symptoms of this type of tinnitus more noticeable. Food choices, along with regular exercise, can help to lower blood pressure and the severity of pulsatile tinnitus symptoms.

Pulsatile tinnitus can often sound like a thumping or whooshing sound. Since it is related to the blood vessels, it follows a regular rhythm that is connected to the pulsing of blood through your system. 

Somatic tinnitus is a type of tinnitus that is related to a function of the body outside sensory or neurological functions. It can be caused by several different factors, including muscle spasms, physical movement or even dental problems among others. 

Somatic tinnitus often has a buzzing, ringing or humming sound. Because it’s caused by bone, muscle and tendon conditions, people experiencing this form of tinnitus may be able to start or change the volume and pitch of these sounds by doing certain movements. This can include moving the mouth, rotating the head or adjusting position.

There is no cure for tinnitus currently. However, there are a number of options to treat and manage tinnitus that can minimize its effects on your daily life. 

The experience of tinnitus is unique to everyone, so something you find bothersome may not even be noticeable to someone else with tinnitus symptoms. Some commonly reported factors that can make the symptoms more noticeable include the following:

Several treatment options for tinnitus are available to help people lessen the impact of tinnitus symptoms on their lives. Options for treating tinnitus symptoms include using hearing aids, noise suppression with tools such as white noise machines or masking devices, sometimes the use of medication and more.  

Yes, a number of Miracle-Ear hearing aid models include technology that helps to treat tinnitus like white noise generation or notch therapy functions. 

Yes, ear wax blockage can be the cause of some types of tinnitus. A Miracle-Ear specialist will be able to help determine if ear wax is a factor in your tinnitus and provide you with treatment options. 

A specific kind of tinnitus―pulsatile tinnitus―is closely connected to the blood vessels. High blood pressure can make symptoms of this type of tinnitus more noticeable.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known ototoxic medications. NSAIDs include pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. When taken in high doses or over long periods of time, these medications may cause temporary hearing loss and tinnitus.

Like aspirin, acetaminophen is also considered to be an ototoxic medication that can cause tinnitus. People who occasionally take acetaminophen are not as likely to experience tinnitus as people who take it frequently.

Though the underlying cause of tinnitus varies from person to person, stress is often an exacerbating factor that makes the tinnitus more noticeable. Stress is generally not the source of tinnitus but reducing it can often help alleviate your symptoms.

Though it is unlikely that tinnitus is directly causing your vertigo, Meniere’s disease is a chronic inner ear condition that includes both vertigo and tinnitus among its possible symptoms. If you experience vertigo, tinnitus or a combination of the two, speak to your doctor about what could be causing your symptoms. 

There is currently no scientific consensus on why headaches and tinnitus can sometimes occur simultaneously, so there is no clear way to say whether one of those medical conditions is the source of the other. We do know, however, that several headache disorders can present simultaneously with tinnitus symptoms. If you experience tinnitus, headaches or both simultaneously, speak to you doctor about what could be causing the problems. 

Most people will experience temporary tinnitus symptoms at some point in their lives. Persistent, chronic tinnitus is a bit rarer, though still quite common. Lasting tinnitus symptoms affect around 15% of the adult population. 
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We hope you’ve found this information helpful, and we are happy to help provide clarity around this often-confusing topic. Have more questions about tinnitus? Book an appointment with a hearing care professional at your local Miracle-Ear today.

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