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What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is an otolaryngologic disorder that millions of Americans suffer from. With no definite cause or cure, this persistent buzzing, roaring, or ringing sound in one or both ears disrupts sleep, daily activities, and well-being. Fortunately, here at Carolina Hearing Institute, your audiologists, Dr. Katie McGee and Dr. Jason Wigand, help patients in Columbia, Lugoff, and Sumter, SC, manage tinnitus for a better quality of life.

What causes tinnitus?

The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) says that the causes are as varied as the people who suffer from this continuous noise disorder. Age seems to be a factor, says Harvard Health, as most sufferers are over the age of 55 and have some degree of hearing loss.

Additionally, the ATA indicates these factors may contribute to tinnitus and its severity:

  • Exposure to loud noise from music, power tools, and traffic
  • Drugs such as aspirin, some antidepressants, and blood pressure medications
  • Jaw joint dysfunction
  • Meniere's Disease, an autoimmune disorder which impairs hearing and balance
  • Anxiety disorders

Whatever the precipitating event, factor, or physical defect, the communication along the auditory nerve to the brain is disrupted. The brain then produces inappropriate sound signals, similar to the static on an AM/FM radio.

Treating tinnitus

The first step is a hearing evaluation at Carolina Hearing Institute in Columbia, Lugoff, or Sumter, SC. During these appointments, one of our audiologists will ask about your symptoms and their character, timing, and duration. The doctor will perform a hearing evaluation, as well, to determine the degree of hearing loss that you may have.

Finally, your treatment plan will show you ways to alleviate your tinnitus. You should lower excessive noise exposure as best you can and use ear protection if you have a loud occupation. Amplification with today's modern hearing aids can, in part, cancel some of those disruptive sounds.

In addition, some behavioral and cognitive therapies, such as mindfulness, help manage symptoms. Masking noise from a fan or white noise machine helps patients ignore their tinnitus, particularly at night when symptoms tend to be more noticeable. Stress management techniques, such as biofeedback, alter blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate, reducing tinnitus.

We will help you

Dr. McGee, Dr. Wigand, and their caring staff all understand the frustrations of tinnitus. These audiologists in Columbia, Lugoff, and Sumter, SC, partner with scores of patients in tinnitus management, improving quality of life. Call Carolina Hearing Institute for an evaluation at (803) 424-2208.

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