million Americans suffer from tinnitus, and more than 7 million are
afflicted with tinnitus so severely that it effects there ability to lead a
normal life. Undoubtedly the
loud noises we are
exposed to in modern society- loud music concerts, amplified music, job
related noises, MP3/IPOD players, etc. contribute to this growing heath
problem. The problem also increases in prevalence and severity with age.
Medically, tinnitus may be a symptom of a variety of diseases such as
TMJ, Meniere's disease, hypothyroidism, metabolic
disorders/issues, autoimmune disease, B12 deficiency, sinus issues, allergy and Eustachian tube dysfunction. It
may also be caused by various non-disease conditions such as hearing loss
resulting from loud noise and various prescription and over the counter
may be temporary or permanent. It may be subjective (heard only be the
person experiencing it) or objective (can be heard by an outside observer).
It may vary through out the day and over time may improve or grow worse.
Cases of tinnitus may be very minor- an occasional rushing, low pitched
sound in a very quiet room- to severe and debilitating- where the sound
drowns out everyday sounds and speech. The psychological effects of
tinnitus can be devastating, leading to deprived sleep, anxiety
and clinical depression.
Tinnitus should be treated seriously. Tinnitus should be
medically evaluated by a family doctor as well as an ear, nose
and throat specialist and/or other specialists. It is important the medical
professional takes tinnitus seriously and is willing to take the time to
answer questions, order the necessary tests and provide treatment options.
Tinnitus is treatable. First, it is
to treat the underlying disease condition. Second, life style changes may
help such as changes in diet; elimination of caffeine and alcohol; more
careful use of over the counter and prescription drugs such as aspirin,
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs & antibiotics; stress reduction;
avoiding loud noises (loud concerts/dance halls, job related, gun shots,
etc. and use of ear plugs); and use of masking sounds. There are alternative
therapies such as acupuncture and herbal/ homeopathic preparations that may
be helpful. There are also treatment therapies such as
that may help mask the noise and/or retrain the brain/mind to filter
out the noise and/or not become as anxious.
There are many useful tinnitus resources on the web.
However, each tinnitus case requires evaluation by a team of medical professionals.
Yet ultimately we each must be empowered take control of the healing and