Tinnitus ( “tin-nuh-tis” or “tin-night-us”) is a symptom more commonly known as “ringing in the ear”. The term describes the perception of sound where there is no external sound stimulus. It is a very real sensation, however, and can affect individuals differently. People describe their tinnitus as ringing, buzzing, chirping, roaring, hissing, horns, etc. Another less common description is music- known as musical tinnitus. It is fairly common, estimated to effect 1 in 5 people. It is considered tinnitus when it is chronic, although most people notice it more in quieter environments like bedtime.
While tinnitus can be temporary (after a loud night) or can be chronic (always there to some degree). It is a symptom of an underlying condition such as hearing loss, ear canal blockage, ear trauma, or circulatory disorder. Unfortunately, many people with chronic tinnitus are told that they just have to live with it. Like diabetes, a chronic problem does not have a cure but there are many ways to manage it. Dr. Tarvin is a member of the Tinnitus Practitioners Association and has completed specialized training to work with tinnitus and sound sensitivity patients. Every treatment plan is different since tinnitus affects people differently. About 80% of individuals with tinnitus also have hearing loss. Research shows treating your hearing loss is the most effective strategy to managing tinnitus. There are additional options and other solutions for the other 20%, as well, based on individual needs.
Ever hear quick bursts of sudden hearing loss (10 to 30 seconds) followed by whistling? This is known as “transient ear noise” and nearly everyone experiences this throughout their lifetime. This is completely normal and not categorized as tinnitus.