Posted by HearStore on Jul 30th 2017
Have Tinnitus? Might Be the Start of Hearing Loss
There are times, for almost no reason at all, you may hear sounds in your head. They may sound like a ringing, whistling, buzzing, crack, or burst of air. Hearing phantom sounds in your head, with no external stimulus, may be a disconcerting experience, but you’re not alone. This phenomenon, known as tinnitus, a “ringing of the ears,” is a common physical condition in the United States.
Tinnitus in Numbers
In fact, 20% of Americans have reported the experience of tinnitus that lasts anywhere from five minutes to longer stretches of time, from weeks to months. For veterans returning from combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, 60% have reported cases of hearing loss and tinnitus.
The link between hearing loss and tinnitus is strong: 90% of cases of tinnitus are also accompanied by hearing loss.
What Causes Hearing Loss and Tinnitus?
There are many different causes for hearing loss and tinnitus, and when a person experiences either one or both, a hearing specialist must take into account the many factors of a person’s lifestyle, and personal and family medical history.
However, hearing loss and tinnitus do share some similar causes, which include noise, trauma, ototoxic medication (i.e. antibiotics that damage inner ear hair cells), genetic factors, viral or bacterial infections, or aging.
Some researchers have likened the condition of tinnitus, in which your inner ear hair cells are damaged and irreparable to trees that have been leveled by a violent storm. When the trees have been fallen in a certain manner, they do not bounce back. Similarly, inner ear hair cells, when exposed to dangerous volumes of noise, or a traumatic moment such as an explosion or gunfire, may remain in place, generating a neural signal that is sent to the brain as sound.
I have tinnitus…but how do I know if it is hearing loss?
The Hearing Health Foundation notes that 90% of tinnitus cases are accompanied by hearing loss. If you have been suffering from tinnitus and have not sought treatment, the first step is to make an appointment to see a hearing professional and to take a hearing exam.
The sounds generated by your tinnitus are undoubtedly distracting with your hearing – as well as your daily life. Tinnitus has been linked to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and stress disorders, as well as health issues related to sleep deprivation.
Treating Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to many other health-related complications. Studies have found that untreated hearing loss doubles the risk for dementia, while rates of falls and hospitalizations increase.
HearStore has a wide array of treatments for both hearing loss and tinnitus. State-of-the-art hearing aids are equipped with tinnitus therapies to simultaneously reduce the frustrating symptoms of tinnitus, while elucidating the sounds of your life.