Myths About Tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a real thing

Tinnitus is very real.  Tinnitus is a physical condition (with perceptual & neural components), experienced as noises or ringing in the ears or head when no such external physical noise is present.

Tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition that can result from a wide range of underlying causes. In most cases, tinnitus is a sensorineural reaction in the brain to damage in the ear and primary auditory cortex in the brain. While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, there is a wide range of underlying causes;

  • Hearing Loss
  • Exposure To Loud Noises
  • Medications
  • Neurological Damage
  • Stress
  • Other Health Problems

There is no treatment for tinnitus – I have to just learn to live with it

“Just learn to live with it” or “ignore it” is impractical advice for most tinnitus sufferers.  Unfortunately the more you try to not think about your tinnitus-the worse it gets.  In the past, we have had limited options to find tinnitus relief, such as, bio feedback and stress reduction, white noise masking devices, medicines and distraction techniques.  Typically, most of these have proven to be ineffective over time.  However, this fortunately has changed with today’s innovative tinnitus retraining and neuromodulation therapies.  These therapies are designed to target the underlying perceptual or neural aspects of tinnitus.  These FDA approved treatments are simple to use and are customized to each patient’s unique tinnitus needs.Prior to any treatment, it is important to undergo a thorough examination and evaluation by your Otolaryngologist and an Audiologist that specializes in the treatment of tinnitus.

Tinnitus Myths

Knowing tinnitus facts is a great way to get on a path towards relief.

According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus sufferers in the United States number in the millions. And with so many people suffering from tinnitus, it is more important than ever to be able to distinguish fact from fiction. Knowing the truth about tinnitus can give you the best chance to effectively approach the condition and reduce the symptoms in order to improve your quality of life.

  • Myth: Tinnitus is all in your head

Fact: Just because others can’t “see” your tinnitus, and there are no test results that will show the presence of it, doesn’t mean it isn’t all too real. Millions of people worldwide suffer from tinnitus, and it can vary from mild to debilitating. Don’t suffer in silence. There are experts that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • Myth: I can just change my diet and my tinnitus will go away

Fact: While some feel that certain additives and foods such as alcohol, sodium and caffeine can aggravate tinnitus, they are not usually the root cause. It is always important to overall health to eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, but tinnitus needs to be addressed separately. Tinnitus management strategies can include dietary and lifestyle changes, but these alone won’t “cure” tinnitus.

  • Myth: Tinnitus is temporary. It will go away soon.

Fact: Some forms of tinnitus are temporary and caused by recent exposure to loud noise or ear trauma. This type of tinnitus should resolve on its own within a short period of time. However, more often, it can be persistent and more long-lasting or consist of recurring episodes. This tinnitus will typically not resolve on its own without treatment.

  • Myth: Only those with hearing loss get tinnitus

Fact: Yes, those with hearing loss can also get tinnitus, and they are often related. But it is also possible to get tinnitus without having hearing loss. If you are exposed to very loud noise, such as a rock concert or an explosion, you might experience temporary ringing in the ears. And certain other medical conditions or use of medications can cause tinnitus as well. Even if you don’t think you have hearing loss, it is still worth getting checked out by an audiologist.

  • Myth: Hearing aids won’t help with tinnitus.

Fact: The truth is that new developments in hearing aid technology can address both hearing loss and symptoms of tinnitus by increasing the sounds of external noise, thereby masking the internal sounds of tinnitus. Hearing aids can also come equipped with Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, a functionality used as part of a comprehensive tinnitus treatment program designed to give relief from tinnitus when you need it.

  • Myth: Tinnitus is only from listening to loud music or using earbuds

Fact: While listening to dangerously loud music, or any excessive noise for that matter, can result in tinnitus, there are actually many possible underlying causes that trigger tinnitus or may exacerbate tinnitus already present. Some of these may include stress, dietary triggers (high sodium, alcohol, caffeine) high amounts of aspirin, smoking, and more. People of different ages, races, health statuses and socioeconomic backgrounds get tinnitus, and quite often there is no obvious reason. In other words, just because you don’t listen to loud music or use earbuds doesn’t mean you are immune.

  • Myth: Tinnitus is a new condition caused by MP3 players. People didn’t have it in the old days.

Fact: According to Widex, one of the world’s leading hearing aid manufacturers, “Tinnitus has been around for as long as people have been writing things down. A 2004 study says that even people in ancient Egypt made reference to the condition. Other research shows that the great composer Ludwig Van Beethoven had tinnitus.”

  • Myth: There is nothing I can do about tinnitus

Fact: There is something you can do! Research into tinnitus is ongoing, and treatments are constantly evolving and improving. Whether your tinnitus is mild, moderate or severe, an audiologist can offer solutions and treatments to help lessen the symptoms and make your condition more manageable.

  • Myth: Everyone with tinnitus eventually goes deaf

Fact: Tinnitus and hearing loss can coexist but are separate conditions. Just because you have tinnitus doesn’t mean you have hearing loss, and even if you have hearing loss, it doesn’t mean you are going deaf. The first important step is to see an audiologist for a hearing & tinnitus evaluation.

  • Myth: Tinnitus is always a ringing in the ears

Fact: The truth is that tinnitus sounds are not the same for everyone. Ringing is most common, but so is buzzing, whooshing, high pitched hissing, clicking, humming, or static, just to name a few. Tinnitus sounds can even vary from day to day, switch ears, or even change pitch. Tinnitus affects people in many ways. Sometimes tinnitus can be heard as a low-pitched sound like a rumble. Rarely, tinnitus will manifest itself as a musical hallucination that leaves you hearing a song repeatedly in your head.

  • Myth: There are pills you can take to make tinnitus go away

Fact: Unfortunately, there is no “magic pill” that you can take to cure tinnitus. But there are ways to manage tinnitus that can lessen the symptoms and make them manageable. For example, advances have been made in various types of sound therapy with great success. Other ways to manage the symptoms include hearing aids, relaxation & stress management techniques, noise maskers, and changes in diet and exercise.

If you are one of the millions of people in the world that has tinnitus, knowing the facts is a great first step. Getting help can be just a quick phone call away.