Tinnitus is one of the most common hearing issues throughout the country. It’s often referred to as a condition, but it’s really just a symptom of something else. More often than not, it can be an early indicator of hearing loss – but there are plenty of other things that could be causing it.

The good news is, there are ways to treat tinnitus and ease the symptoms. From hearing aids to sound machines, there are a variety of ways you can find the relief you need from that frustrating ringing, buzzing or whooshing.

But first, let’s talk about the main signs and causes of tinnitus:

What is tinnitus?

The simplest way to explain this is by saying it's a ringing or whistling in your ears. This is the main symptom of tinnitus and it should be present for a good few days. Most people experience the odd ringing now and then, but persistent ringing usually indicates tinnitus is present.

If you think you have this problem, but you’re not sure, then there are two things an audiologist usually recommends you try. Firstly, cover your ears and see if the sound is still there. Then, ask anyone else if they hear the same ringing or whistling. If the noise remains and no one else hears it, then it’s definitely internal and you most probably have tinnitus.

What causes tinnitus?

As an experienced audiologist, we’ve dealt with multiple tinnitus cases in the past. With each patient, we tend to find that this ringing in the ears is a sign of a deeper problem that caused it. This includes exposure to loud noises, a build-up of hard, impacted earwax, physical trauma – and much more.

If we had to narrow things down and come up with the number one cause of tinnitus, then it would definitely be loud noises. This can damage the nerve endings in your ears and can also rupture your eardrum to create that annoying whistling sound.

Furthermore, tinnitus can be a sign that you have hearing loss. So, to be safe, it’s recommended you see an audiologist as soon as you recognize the tinnitus symptoms.

Can hearing aids treat tinnitus?

Yes, hearing aids can treat tinnitus – but they can’t cure it. These devices can be used to provide relief from the symptoms that may be plaguing your life. If you can’t get that terrible ringing or whistling sound out of your head, then this is a brilliant treatment option for you. Especially if you’re one of the 80 percent of people who also have hearing loss alongside tinnitus.

Remember, the noise you hear when you have tinnitus is coming from inside your ear. As a result, if you have hearing loss, then this sound almost becomes magnified. You struggle to hear other background noises because your hearing is so bad, which means this internal ringing is all you hear, driving you crazy!

With hearing aids, you can mask the sound of this ringing in a couple of ways. Many hearing aids can be equipped with features to cancel out that ringing noise in your head. It can produce a tone or sound that counters it and can cover it up for you. But, the most common way that hearing aids help is by simply amplifying the rest of the noise around you! Because so many people have tinnitus and hearing loss, hearing aids serve as the perfect solution to treat both conditions.

When you think about it, it’s a very straightforward concept. If you can hear more background sounds – like the cars on the road or birds in the trees – then your world becomes louder. Therefore, you have more things distracting you and covering up the ringing in your ears. Also, in a more technical and scientific sense, wearing hearing aids can increase the sound signals going to your brain, which helps cover up the tinnitus.

It’s important to note that tinnitus isn’t always curable. If it comes as the result of hearing loss, then you’ll never be able to cure it. But, hearing aids are the best and most effective option if you’re looking to treat it and gain relief from the irritating symptoms. To learn more about tinnitus – and the various treatment options – then feel free to look on our website or get in touch with us today.

Give the team of Baker Audiology & Hearing Aids a call at (605) 610-3466 and we’ll happily discuss any tinnitus concerns with you, or we can book you in for a comprehensive examination right away!