Tinnitus is a noise heard by a person which was not produced by an external source. Approximately 45 million Americans have tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association. It is also our military personnel's number one medical complaint upon returning from the battlefield.
If suffering from tinnitus, you may hear different types of sounds, for example, ringing, whooshing or humming or buzzing in the ear. These sounds can be ongoing or intermittent. The tinnitus may appear to be in one or both ears, in the center of the head, or even difficult to locate. Some people might think the noise is coming from the outside and follow it until they discover it is coming from them.
Sometimes people have musical tinnitus that can appear like a familiar tune or song. Although rare, this tends to happen more often in older people with a hearing loss and a strong interest in music. This kind of tinnitus is referred to as musical hallucination.
It is estimated that over 80 percent of cases of hearing loss come with tinnitus as a symptom. What could explain the connection between tinnitus and hearing loss?
Under normal circumstances, hearing is achieved by sound traveling into the ear and the hearing nerves taking these sound signals to the brain. The brain then helps us understand what the sound is. The ears don't know what is and what isn't important and they bring a lot of information to the brain. This usually is too much data for us to process, so the brain filters out irrelevant background sound. This saves us from the cacophony of sound we are actually exposed to on a daily basis.
However, if something were to happen which affects any part of this sequence of events (such as a hearing loss or an ear infection) the amount of information sent to the brain changes accordingly. The brain then reacts to this level shift by attempting to get more information from the ear, and the additional data you may get is the noise we call tinnitus. Therefore, the tinnitus you hear is indeed brain activity, not the ear!
Researchers usually acknowledge that there could be several causes which may trigger tinnitus. For example, a change in our stress levels, or changes in our life or overall well-being. It can also occur with a cold, an ear infection or earwax blocking the ear.
There are several constructive ways we can respond to the ringing in our ears:
Those who are serious about treating their symptoms should consider the Widex Zen. It combines all four methods into one framework which ensures that tinnitus does not negatively impact the way you live. The product of an entire team of experts on the subject of tinnitus, Widex Zen tinnitus therapy has been widely recognized as an effective way to manage your tinnitus.
For more information on Widex Zen to manage your tinnitus, contact us today!