What do David Letterman, Pete Townshend, Charles Darwin, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Steve Martin have in common? Other than being notable individuals in history or entertainment, all of these people have lived with chronic tinnitus. And they are not alone. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that more than 50 million Americans experience tinnitus. Of these, 12 million have tinnitus that is severe enough to seek medical attention. Furthermore, approximately 2 million persons have tinnitus that is so debilitating they cannot function in their daily lives.
Thorough evaluation is important
Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound when no external sound is present. It is often referred to as ringing in the ears, although some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping, or clicking. It can be intermittent or constant, with single or changing frequencies. Because there are so many causes of tinnitus, it is important to be thoroughly evaluated to determine what exactly is causing the ringing. Many times people are told that tinnitus is normal with aging, or that they just have to live with it, both of which are false statements.
Help is available
Tinnitus is a complex problem and the experience is different for each patient. Your hearing care provider should take the time to listen and gather valuable information, use comprehensive diagnostic testing to evaluate, and then by combining the latest technologies, therapies and methods, develop an individualized treatment and/or management plan. Treatments clinically proven to be effective for 90% of suitable tinnitus cases include those which use specialized sound therapy to aid in the desensitization of tinnitus. Others can be used when hearing loss is present to match the pitch and loudness of their tinnitus aiding in relief while delivering amplification for hearing loss. Life is too short to suffer from tinnitus. No one should “learn to live with it.”