Dr. Layne Garrett, Guest Writer | Lehi Free Press
The ringing, buzzing or whooshing sounds many people experience is called tinnitus. Many will experience this temporarily for a few days following exposure to loud noise at a concert or ball game, but for others, the tinnitus is constant and can be extremely distressing.
Tinnitus is the brain’s way of letting you know there is damage somewhere in the auditory system. In fact, for more than 90% of people living with tinnitus, the ringing is directly attributed to the progressive and degenerative loss of nerves connecting the ear to the brain, also known as hearing loss. In these cases, you could be experiencing “hidden hearing loss,” where up to 50% of your auditory nerves are damaged without you really noticing a problem aside from tinnitus.
Many patients are told that there is nothing that can be done and they must “suffer in silence,” though it seems anything but silent. Untreated tinnitus affects 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. In addition, the newest research is showing that up to 15% of patients who had COVID-19 are reporting tinnitus after recovery, indicating this issue is increasing in scope.
While there is no cure for tinnitus, just as there is no cure for hearing loss, there are very effective treatments. The most successful and well-documented form of treatment is to fight back against the tinnitus by restoring neural signals with sound stimulation.
When done correctly, people living with tinnitus have a 75-85% chance of living with less (or no) tinnitus. For those few who have tinnitus without accompanying hearing loss, there are other effective treatments, including a tinnitus-specific therapy from mytinnitustherapy.com. A thorough hearing evaluation by a Certified Tinnitus Provider provides the most effective treatment options.
You should schedule a tinnitus evaluation if you have any of these symptoms:
● Noise in your head (ringing, buzzing, whooshing or other) that causes you stress, makes it hard to concentrate, or causes you to lose sleep.
● Difficulty hearing others because of the noise.
● Memory issues (forgetting names, words, dates, etc. more often than you used to).
With proper treatment and follow-up care, tinnitus can cease to be a top-of-mind condition — and patients can get on with their lives!
This story is sponsored by Timpanogos Hearing & Tinnitus.