Do you experience ringing, buzzing, or hissing in your ears? If so, you’re not alone. This condition, called tinnitus, affects more than 50 million Americans. Most people report their tinnitus as a fleeting nuisance after a loud concert or during very quiet times. However, approximately 3% of the population experiences tinnitus as something that compromises their overall well-being.
Tinnitus has many causes, ranging from low-risk to severe: ear wax all the way up to serious neurological disorders. It is believed that tinnitus is initiated by damage to the inner ear cells, which are responsible for the transmission of sound. The damage often results from recreational noise exposure, the aging process, or certain medications. Medical conditions, like temporomandibular joint disorder and neck and spine problems can also contribute to tinnitus.
Although you perceive the ringing sounds to be coming from your ears, brain imaging studies have illustrated that tinnitus has more to do with the areas in the brain that process sound. The brain’s neural hearing regions adapt to the decreased information flow from the malfunctioning inner ear cells and actually re-arrange themselves.
Tinnitus is a serious problem for some, while others seem like they’re able to ignore it. This is because the brain’s emotional activity centers show increased activity in those with tinnitus. A person’s emotional “fight or flight” reaction to tinnitus ultimately dictates how they respond and how troublesome they find it to be.
We Can Help Relieve Your Tinnitus Symptoms
At Harbor Audiology, we provide patients in the greater Puget Sound with effective management techniques that make living with this condition much easier. First, we’ll conduct an assessment of your condition to find the cause of your tinnitus. Sometimes, upon discovering the cause, we can treat it directly and the symptoms will disappear completely. In other cases, we use a combination of options to diminish your suffering, such as:
- Hearing aids –
because tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss, the use of hearing aids can benefit by enhancing hearing and covering up (masking) the ringing sensation. Most hearing aids also have additional tinnitus support features. These can be discussed with your Audiologist at any time during your hearing aid experience.
- SoundCure Serenade® –
a therapy system for tinnitus relief that utilizes cutting-edge technology. It’s simple to use and can be customized specifically to your unique tinnitus symptoms and needs. You can use it to get immediate relief from symptoms and it also works to diminish them over time as part of a tinnitus treatment program. The Serenade system works through a hand-held device that generates sound therapy which addresses the underlying neurological cause of tinnitus.
- The Levo System by Otoharmonics –
Utilizing an FDA-cleared neuroscience-based approach, the Levo System is a personal and patented nightly sound therapy designed to improve the quality of your daily life. This system is designed to help improve your tinnitus while you sleep. The Levo System identifies the unique tinnitus sound of each user and creates a customized program to improve symptoms.
If you or a loved one suffers from tinnitus, we can help! Schedule an appointment today at the Harbor Audiology to receive your hearing evaluation; we have offices in Gig Harbor, Silverdale, Sequim, and Tacoma, Washington!