Serving the Hearing Healthcare Needs of the AK Valley Since 1958

Who is at Risk for Developing Tinnitus?

a lady with brown hair is having mild head pains

Tinnitus is a hearing issue in which a person may hear a noise that does not come from the exterior world. The noise may be heard in a single ear or both. Alternatively, it may sound like it's in your head. This noise can sound different to each person. 

Usually, it will sound like one of these noises:

  • Buzzing
  • Ringing 
  • Hissing
  • Throbbing
  • Humming
  • Whooshing
  • Music or singing

Many live with tinnitus, but if you find the noise becomes constant or quite regular, you might want to seek out an audiologist. Similarly, if you notice it recently becoming worse, or you notice the noise interfering with your everyday life, seeking help is smart. Intereference with your life might come in the form of disturbed sleep and poor concentration. If your tinnitus beats in time with your heart, visit an audiologist. 

What are the causes of tinnitus?

Though there are several possible causes, most commonly, tinnitus can arise as a symptom of other health issues. 

Health issues that may cause tinnitus:

  • Ear infections and build-ups of earwax.
  • Tinnitus can be caused by general hearing loss, which may come with age or other related issues. 
  • Similarly, those who experience Meniere’s disease may have tinnitus as a side effect. 
  • Those with anxiety or depression may find tinnitus to appear.
  • Plus, those taking certain medications. Tinnitus often appears as side effects of certain antibiotics, NSAIDs, aspirins and chemotherapy medicines. 
  • Diabetes, multiple sclerosis and thyroid disorders can all lead to tinnitus.  

Sometimes, tinnitus that may be experienced as a side effect of these conditions can be alleviated as the health issue is fixed or becomes less of a concern through positive development. 

Who may be at a higher risk of developing tinnitus?

In their lives, around 30% of people experience tinnitus, across all age groups. However, the number of people who experience persistent tinnitus is lower that 13%. Alongside health risks that may cause tinnitus, several lifestyle factors may put you at a higher risk of developing tinnitus. 

Those exposed to loud music are more likely to develop symptoms of tinnitus. This may be those working in the music industry as musicians, DJs and crew. In addition, those who frequently go to concerts may find themselves affected. If you work within an environment such as these, your employer should supply you with protective ear gear, which you should make sure to use. 

Working with loud machinery may find themselves experiencing tinnitus. Make sure to wear ear protection when working, as the daily exposure is likely to affect you without precautions being taken. 

Listening to music with headphones can be a cause of tinnitus. Everyone loves a bit of music, but excess exposure or music at levels too high can damage your ears. A quick and easy rule to remember is 60/60. Don't listen to music higher than 60% volume, and make sure to take a break after 60 minutes of listening. 

Those exposed to loud bangs at work. Particularly, those working as soldiers in the army, navy or air forces who may handle weapons. Make sure to wear ear protection against these loud noises. 

How can tinnitus be treated?

The treatment best for you will depend on the cause of your tinnitus. 

For those whose tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, the most effective treatment is hearing aids. Hearing aids can come in different forms, from the discreet inner in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid, the discreet behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid for comfort. 

Alternatively, the use of sound machines can treat tinnitus. Sound machines provide white noise or ambient sounds which mask the sound of tinnitus, providing relief to a patient.  

On top of this, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) can be a solution for some. This therapy helps those with tinnitus to come to terms with living with tinnitus. Using several different techniques, the way people view tinnitus can be changed, leading to reductions in stress and a more positive outlook on living with tinnitus. 

For each person, a different treatment will work best. 

Who should I contact?

If you find yourself with tinnitus issues, the next step is to seek out an audiologist. An audiologist will check if there is an easy solution to the tinnitus you are experiencing, or look at ways of helping you to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus. 

To learn more about Rametta Audiology & Hearing Aid Centre contact us today at (724) 224-6811 Tarentum and (724) 567-7381 Vandergrift.