If you’ve ever noticed a ringing sensation in your ear that cannot be explained away be a persistent doorbell, you are hardly alone. About one in five people in Medford experiences tinnitus, making it one of the most common physical health complaints in Oregon.
What is Tinnitus?
To understand tinnitus, you must first realize that it is a symptom rather than a disease. A wide variety of conditions can produce a ringing (or other sound, such as buzzing, whooshing or hissing) in your ears – and sometimes, your Medford audiologist won’t be able to determine a specific cause.
Tinnitus can vary widely between individuals. For some folks, it’s an occasional nuisance that may only flare up from time to time, while others find the distraction so constant it interferes with many aspects of their daily lives, resulting in poor sleep, irritability, stress, depression and fatigue.
Common causes of tinnitus include:
- Excessive noise exposure
- Blockages of the ear canal (e.g., wax buildup, ear infection)
- Medications that can damage the ears (aspirin, quinine and certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, chemotherapy drugs)
- Natural aging
- Meniere’s disease
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Head and neck injuries
- Medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, circulatory disorders, autoimmune diseases and diabetes
With so many possible causes, it’s no wonder tinnitus is so common in Medford. While there is currently no cure – except in those instances where the underlying condition responsible for the symptoms can be treated – there are strategies for the effective management of tinnitus.
Tinnitus Management Strategies
Your Medford audiologist can recommend strategies for managing tinnitus, so it isn’t such a burden on your everyday life.
Masking techniques are among the most popular tinnitus treatments in Oregon. Utilizing white noise to distract your brain from the ringing in your ears is highly effective. You can purchase a white noise machine or download an app for your smartphone or achieve the same effect by turning on a fan or air-conditioner.
Tinnitus retraining therapy is similar in concept but relies on patterned musical notes delivered at specific frequencies to refocus your brain’s attention.
Other treatments include counseling, relaxation exercises, diet and lifestyle modifications and – because tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss – using hearing aids to boost the volume and drown out background tinnitus noise.
For more tips on living with tinnitus, make an appointment with an audiologist in Medford.