The Cause and Treatment of Tinnitus

Tinnitus can in very rare situations be a symptom of such serious problems as an aneurysm or a brain tumor (acoustic tumor). Tinnitus can affect anyone whose ears have been damaged to any degree, from those with little or no hearing loss to those who cannot hear at all.

Doctors have several theories on the cause of Tinnitus, but the most probable cause is due to exposure to loud noises. Although doctors have some theories as to why this happens, it is most likely due to an exposure to a loud environment. Doctors were still failing to recognize tinnitus as a serious health issue just a few years ago. Frequently people who have fought in wars suffer from this ailment due to the loud noises present in the battlefield.

Prolonged exposure to loud noise is damaging and a very common cause of tinnitus. Repeated exposure to noise is likely to lead to tinnitus, but even one-time exposures can sometimes cause severe tinnitus. Loud ringing noises are one of the most common Tinnitus 911 causes of ear. In your everyday environment excessive noise, such as firearms and high intensity music, may have lasting and damaging effects to your ears.

Noise-induced tinnitus is caused by damage to hair cells in the ear. The problem is that while the damaged ear is the cause or “trigger” of the tinnitus, it is often not the source or “generator”. Noise exposure is the most common cause of tinnitus. Noise induced permanent tinnitus (NIPT) can derive from occupational noise exposure, leisure noise or acoustic trauma.

Subjective tinnitus occurs when someone is only able to hear the buzzing, which is not heard by others. Subjective tinnitus cannot be perceived by anyone other than the sufferer. It is subjective tinnitus that is the most difficult to treat.

Tinnitus Treatments

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) uses sound generators with a strict set of guidelines for effective tinnitus treatment. Counselors work with the aim of tutoring the patient on all the intricacies of the hearing systems of the ear and brain.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is a program intended to address and treat chronic tinnitus. TRT is based on a neurophysiologic model and aims to allow a patient to habituate to the tinnitus signal. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy depends upon the natural ability of the brain to “habituate” a signal, to filter it out on a subconscious level so that it does not reach conscious perception. Importantly, habituation is a passive event, in contradistinction to “ignoring” something, which is an active event. TRT is a treatment based upon neurophysiology principles. It deals with brain function, not cochlear anatomy.

Masking is the use of different kinds of sounds to drown out the annoying noise of ringing in the ears of a tinnitus patient. Maskers are small electronic devices that use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Maskers do not make tinnitus go away, but they make the ringing or roaring seem softer. For some people, maskers hide their tinnitus so well that they can barely hear it.

Masking and TRT are similar in that both treatments introduce sounds to patients. Maskers emit sounds that either partially or completely cover the sounds of tinnitus, while TRT sound generators emit a quieter sound that allows the tinnitus to still be heard. Masking happens when the sound therapy is so loud that you no longer hear your tinnitus. If sound therapy is used in this way it may make tinnitus more noticeable in the long run. Masking devices are sometimes called white noise machines.

Alternative medicines and acupuncture only rarely seem to be helpful in treating Tinnitus. Alternative treatments like hypnotherapy and acupuncture have also been used with varying degrees of success. Excellent results have been achieved through homeopathic remedies that are formulated specifically for each type or cause of tinnitus.

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