If you or someone you love is experiencing ringing or buzzing in the ears you may have a condition called tinnitus, an audiological and neurological condition experienced by nearly 50 million Americans.
Tinnitus is the perception of a sound when there is no actual sound present in the environment. Tinnitus is most often categorized as a ringing or buzzing sound but can also be perceived as a humming, swooshing, clicking, hissing or clicking sound. It is estimated by the U.S Center for Disease control that around 20 millions people suffer from tinnitus that is chronic and burdensome with around 2 million of those cases being extreme and debilitating.
While it is true that there is no scientific proven cure for tinnitus there are a variety of treatment options that significantly ease the perceived burden of tinnitus allowing patients to lead more comfortable and productive lives.
Common Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is not a disease in itself but most often a symptom of another underlying health condition. Most commonly tinnitus is a reaction occurring in the brain as a result of damage to the auditory system. While tinnitus associated with hearing loss is what occurs most typically there are many other underlying conditions that can contribute to tinnitus
- Hearing loss; age related or noise induced
- Head and neck trauma
- Obstructions in the ear canal
- Excessive ear wax
- Congestion and sinus pressure
- Dirt or foreign objects
- Barometric Trauma
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Medications that are toxic to the auditory system (Ototoxic)
- Autoimmune and other diseases and medical conditions
- Metabolic Disorders
- Vestibular Disorders
- Blood Vessel Disorders
- Psychiatric Disorders
How Hearing Aids Can Help
Since tinnitus is overwhelmingly related to some degree of permanent hearing loss, using hearing aids to augment the perception and reception of the external environment can often provide relief from the internal sound of tinnitus.
To help understand this concept the two images below from the American Tinnitus Association serve as a visual representation of tinnitus and hearing loss. You can envision the cricket as a person’s tinnitus and the images in the background represent environmental noises. In image A the background is blurred by hearing loss making the cricket, or the tinnitus, the main focus. Image B represents how hearing devices can bring the environment around you to life, so while the cricket is still present its has blended into the background.
New Sound Therapy Treatment Option
A new FDA Cleared sound therapy from Otoharmonics has become available for tinnitus treatment. The LEVO System works differently than a traditional masking system as it is specifically designed to use during sleep when the brain is especially responsive to habituation. It identifies the unique tinnitus sound of each individual and also tracks the patient’s use and responsiveness to the therapy.
NYC Hearing Associates will be hosting a special educational event about the LEVO system on August 16, 2017 at our 110 West 40th Street location. If you are interested in attending this event please call 212-354-2360 or email us at [email protected] to reserve your spot. Dr. Donna Grant from Otoharmonics will be in attendance and free in office demonstrations will be provided.