“My ears are ringing!”, “It’s like I’m hearing crickets!”, “There’s a buzzing noise in my head all the time!”.
These are just a few of the issues we hear about daily here at Hearing Solutions of Indiana. If a person hears a noise that wasn’t made by an object or person in their environment, they are experiencing tinnitus. Some people do their best to ignore it, while others feel like it’s driving them crazy. Many years ago, it was common to see doctors telling their patients, “There’s nothing we can do about it… you just have to get used to it”. We sometimes hear our patients say they’ve been told the same thing, even today.
This is no longer true for most people. Things can be done to help your tinnitus. Decades of research on tinnitus relief has led us to where we are now. Every month patients arrive at our doorstep saying they are at their wit’s end… and every month we change these people’s lives for the better. There are many different causes of tinnitus. Let’s start by breaking down the most common cause… hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be caused by getting older, exposure to loud noise, genetics, head injury, illness, and more. Hearing loss can affect anybody, no matter what age they are. It can come on suddenly or develop slowly over many years. When it happens slowly over time, people often don’t even know they have hearing loss! If you are experiencing lots of ringing in your ears, it’s likely you have hearing loss. You may hear low pitches very well… but have trouble hearing high pitched sounds. This is by far the most common type of hearing loss, and the most common cause of tinnitus.
Here is an easy way to think about the cause of tinnitus:
We live in a noisy world. When you have totally normal hearing, your ears and brain are hearing sounds pretty much all the time. It may be a fan or air-conditioner in the background. It may be crickets, birds, and bugs outside. It may be the wind rustling the leaves, or vehicles on the road. People with normal hearing are always hearing something.
But now, over the years, you’ve developed some hearing loss. Now there is an absence of sound going from your ears to your brain. There is a “gap”. So what does your brain do? It “fills in that gap” by generating its own noise… the tinnitus that you now hear. Most people with tinnitus find they don’t notice it as much when they are in a noisy environment. This is because that noise is “filling in the gap”, and so the brain gets a chance to calm itself down and stops making its own tinnitus noise. But, when it’s time to go to bed at night, it comes roaring back and often seems louder than ever.
The Solution: Restore the steady flow of sound from your ears to your brain… the way things used to be when you had normal hearing.
Hearing aids are the only way to achieve this task. With hearing aids, you’ll be hearing all those sounds you’ve missed out on for so many years. The birds chirping outside. The wind rustling the trees. The TV that’s on in the other room.
Many people experience relief from their tinnitus immediately after we program hearing aids to be custom-fit to their hearing loss. Some people tell us it disappears completely. Most people, however, need time to adjust to their new hearing aids. After a week or two, they start to notice their tinnitus becomes less annoying… less loud. They feel more relaxed, enjoying the sounds around them and communicating easily with friends and family. It’s a quality-of-life thing… and as hearing doctors it’s incredibly gratifying to see.
If, after a couple weeks, the patient doesn’t notice any difference in their tinnitus, we move on to phase two. During this phase, we perform a more in-depth tinnitus evaluation. The hearing aids we have carefully selected for you have more advanced tinnitus features that can be used for the most challenging of cases. It may take several appointments to get it just right… but we don’t charge you for any follow-up visits. That’s our commitment to you. We will work with you as many times as it takes until we get it right… and it all starts with a simple phone call.