What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the name for the perception of sounds, such as ringing, buzzing or hissing, when these sounds are not present in the environment. If you have tinnitus, you are not alone. 1 in 5 people in United States experience tinnitus and nearly 12 million people a year seek medical advice.

What causes tinnitus?

The onset of tinnitus is often related to exposure to loud sounds, which can cause damage to the sensory cells of the inner ear. It has also been associated with excessive ear wax, ear infections, high blood pressure, the aging process, and sensory nerve disorders. Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and some medications, such as aspirin, can also cause or worsen your tinnitus.

Tinnitus and hearing loss

If you have tinnitus, you should be evaluated to determine what options are available for managing it. When it is determined that there are no specific medical issues involved, there are several treatment options to consider.

Approximately 4 in 5 people with tinnitus also experience some level of hearing loss. The use of a hearing aid to amplify sounds has proven to help cover up the tinnitus and make it less distracting. Some of the hearing aids come with a built-in tinnitus sound generator feature, offering additional flexibility in treating both hearing loss and tinnitus.