If you or a loved one are hearing sounds like buzzing, ringing, swooshing, hissing, or more, you could have a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus affects about 50 million Americans and can be both temporary or chronic (ongoing).
While tinnitus is rarely a sign of a serious medical problem, it can cause headaches, sleep troubles, and other frustrating symptoms. Occasionally, it can be a sign of a serious underlying problem.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of the condition, it’s important to see a specialist to get to the root cause of your condition.
At Jacksonville ENT Surgery with offices in Lake City, Florida, and multiple locations in Jacksonville, Florida, many of our patients experiencing tinnitus want to know if there’s a cure. Unfortunately, a definitive cure doesn’t exist. However, different treatments can help.
Our board-certified ear-nose-throat (ENT) providers understand how frustrating tinnitus can be. We’ve created this brief guide to give you more information about the condition and the different ways we can help stop the ringing in your ears.
About 15% of adults in the US experience some form of tinnitus. The condition can come and go, or it can become a chronic affliction. Depending on how severe your tinnitus is, it can become a debilitating condition, affecting your mental health, overall health, and ability to work and socialize.
Everyone experiences tinnitus differently. The sounds may vary in pitch and volume. Many people describe tinnitus as a ringing in their ears, but you may also hear other sounds, including:
Some people also experience rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sounds that align with their pulse or heartbeat.
Tinnitus can result for many reasons. It’s frequently tied to age-related changes that cause hearing loss. However, it can be triggered by something as simple as a build-up of earwax to underlying health conditions, like:
The cause of your tinnitus is closely linked to the type of tinnitus you have. Two main types of tinnitus exist:
Over 99% of people with tinnitus have what’s called subjective tinnitus. This means only you can perceive the sounds you’re hearing.
Subjective tinnitus is usually the result of an auditory and neurological reaction to age-related hearing loss, but other risk factors also increase your chances of getting subjective tinnitus, including:
Taking certain medications can also trigger subjective tinnitus. These medications include aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), certain antibiotics, some chemotherapy medicines, diuretics, and more.
When you have objective tinnitus, other people are able to hear the sounds you’re hearing, usually with a stethoscope. This type of tinnitus is rare and is typically caused by a physical condition, like vascular abnormalities, neurologic diseases, or dysfunctions in your ears.
Most people with objective tinnitus report pulsatile tinnitus, or hearing the sounds in time with their heartbeat. Seeing a specialist is important as objective tinnitus could signal a serious underlying health problem.
The bad news is that currently, no evidence-based cure for tinnitus exists. The good news, however, is that different effective treatment options can ease your symptoms and help you live a more comfortable life again.
The right treatment for your tinnitus depends on the type of tinnitus you have, your symptoms, and their severity. Your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider evaluates your tinnitus and overall health to create a personalized tinnitus treatment plan, which may include:
In some cases, your provider may recommend surgery to correct damage to your inner ear or to address nerve issues.
Get help for tinnitus by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at the Jacksonville ENT Surgery location nearest you.