Do you suffer from constant “ringing in the ears”?
An estimated 37% of adult Canadians (9.2 million) had experienced tinnitus in the past year. It was bothersome for 7%, affecting aspects of their lives such as sleep, concentration and mood. Although men were more likely than women to have tinnitus, they were also more likely to report that it was not bothersome.
Maybe it’s not ringing exactly. Some people describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, and roaring. Whatever noise it is, the real issue is something called tinnitus.
Tinnitus (“TIN-a-tus” or “Tin-EYE-tus”) is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears or head when no external sound is present. The important thing to know is that tinnitus is not a condition or a disease. Instead, it’s a symptom — typically of something bigger, like an ear infection, high blood pressure or, most common, hearing loss.
What We Do
It is important to remember that tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. The initial treatment should be directed toward looking for a medically treatable cause of the tinnitus, as the tinnitus may be a symptom of a more serious disorder. Anyone with tinnitus should have a complete audiological evaluation by a qualified audiologist.
A referral to an otolaryngologist may be recommended if a medical evaluation is warranted. Patients with tinnitus are often told that there is no medical cure or treatment for their condition. This is not entirely true. It can often be successfully managed.
There are various treatments available which may give varying degrees of relief.
- Some 50 million American adults suffer from tinnitus (1 in 5) and According to Tinnitus Association of Canada as many as 360,000 Canadians suffer from annoying tinnitus. 150,000 Canadians experience a degree of tinnitus that significantly affects their quality of life.
- Tinnitus is the number 1 disability for military veterans.
- Tinnitus can occur at any age, and may begin suddenly or progress gradually
Common Causes Of Tinnitus
- Noise exposure (e.g., from shooting, loud music, or machines at work)
- Age related hearing dysfunction or Presbycusis
- Temporal mandibular joint disorders
- Congenital sensory hearing loss
- Head injury
- Meniere’s disease
- Inflammatory disorders, e.g., arthritis
- Metabolic disorders, e.g., hyperlipidemia
- Neurologic disorders, e.g., multiple sclerosis
- Vestibular schwannoma, e.g., eighth nerve tumor
- Side effects from medication