Hearing loss is more common than we often expect. According to recent statistics, nearly 20 percent of Americans report some form of hearing loss, at after age 65 one of out of every three people experience hearing loss
But beyond hearing loss, there’s another common hearing ailment that plagues countless Americans: tinnitus
. This sometimes debilitating condition is often paired with hearing loss, and can make difficulties with hearing even worse.
But what is tinnitus? Before seeking treatment, it’s important to understand what the condition is and how it happens, as well as how it’s treated.
Tinnitus is described as a ringing, buzzing or other phantom sounds in your head. These sounds often feel as if they are coming from within the ear, and they can become so bothersome that they create difficulties with sleep, concentration and even hearing.
Tinnitus is a common occurrence – about 20% of Americans have reported this ringing in their ears. Tinnitus can last anywhere from just a few minutes to weeks or even months. When these sounds begin to effect daily life, it’s time to seek treatment for tinnitus.
About 90% of tinnitus cases are accompanied by hearing loss, so it’s not surprising that tinnitus is one of the biggest reasons people seek hearing solutions like aids. The causes for tinnitus – though still largely a mystery – are often the same causes for hearing loss.
Tinnitus and hearing loss can both be caused by excessive and prolonged noise
, trauma, ototoxic medication, genetic factors and aging. Some researchers have found that tinnitus is connected with damaged inner ear hair cells, often damaged by dangerously loud sounds. Simply put, these hairs do not “bounce back” from this damage and can cause ringing or buzzing.