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Tinnitus, aka “ringing in the ears”

September 17, 2018

 

Every day, new patients come to hudsonENT for tinnitus.  What is tinnitus? It is the perception of sound without a stimulus, meaning people hear a noise [in their head or ears or environment around them] that comes without a source.

 

Interestingly, there are some who are very particular about the noise.  Meaning, if the provider asks about their “ringing”, some reply that is not a ringing but a buzzing, or a humming, chirping, and more.  Many feel that it is like holding your ear to a conch shell and “hearing the ocean”.  Some describe more than one noise at different frequencies: I tend to see this in those who are either serious audiophiles or work in the music industry.

 

People will have an audiogram (“a hearing test”) here to determine if there is any hearing loss, since many if not most have this.  Many patients wonder if the tinnitus is causing hearing loss, but providers believe it is the other way around: hearing loss causes tinnitus.  How this happens is beyond this one page, but it can be thought of as a broken feed-back loop.

 

Many suffer tinnitus from medication or vitamin supplements. It seems that most medications have tinnitus listed in the medication package inserts, which are those folded thin paper tracts that are in fine print ad accompany medication boxes.  The task to figure out which medicine, if any, is causing tinnitus is arduous for the patient.

 

To help feel better, many accept reassurance alone as a remedy that it should not get worse or is not due to another disease.  But this is properly done with an audiogram and otolaryngology visit. There are over the counter remedies, some that come with self-funded studies suggesting efficacy beyond placebo.

 

Many with tinnitus recover with hearing aids. Because hearing aids have some connotation to them and many do not have coverage for them, they are not used as often as could be helpful.  Nowadays, they can be programmed to generate a soundwave opposite to the noise being heard, which leads to great relief.  In fact, Doctor Kortbus has tinnitus and can help you through this journey from personal experience.

 

Do you or a loved one have this problem?  We are expert at diagnosis and treatment, and want to help you. Give us a call at 845-758-1456.

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