Do you have a phantom ringing, roaring, rushing, whooshing, whistling or hissing noise in your ears with no external sound source? If so, you’re suffering from a condition called tinnitus, which affects an estimated 45 million people across the nation. Though tinnitus is quite common, there are a lot of misconceptions around it, which we dispel below.
Myth: Tinnitus Is a Disease
Truth: Tinnitus isn’t a disease itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition such as exposure to loud noise like rock concerts at the Granada Theater, neurological damage, vascular disease or traumatic brain injury. Tinnitus can also be a side effect of certain medications such as antibiotics, pain relievers, diuretics and chemotherapy drugs.
Myth: Tinnitus Can Be Cured with Dietary Changes
Truth: Some foods and beverages that contain sodium, caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate symptoms, but they’re rarely the root cause. Making dietary and other lifestyle changes can help manage tinnitus, but doing so is not a cure.
Myth: Only People with Hearing Loss Have Tinnitus
Truth: It’s true that hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand-in-hand – as it’s frequently the case that both are caused by damage to the auditory system. However, many people who experience tinnitus have perfectly normal hearing.
A related myth is that tinnitus causes you to go deaf, but this isn’t true either. Tinnitus is the result of damage to the ears, not the cause of it.
Myth: Hearing Aids Are Only for Hearing Loss
Truth: Hearing aids can be highly effective for managing tinnitus. This is because they work by turning up the volume on sounds in your environment, providing a masking effect. Some hearing aids even have built-in features that provide further masking of tinnitus sounds.
Myth: Tinnitus Is All in Your Head
Truth: Just because tinnitus cannot be objectively measured doesn’t mean it’s not real. Millions of people suffer from tinnitus, and their experiences are valid, too. While tinnitus may be a mild nuisance to one person, it could be debilitating to another. Don’t chalk tinnitus up to something that’s all in your head.
Myth: There Is Nothing that Can Help My Tinnitus
Truth: In addition to hearing aids and lifestyle/dietary changes, there are many options for managing tinnitus, including sound masking, habituation, cognitive-behavioral therapy and tinnitus retraining therapy. For more information about the truth behind tinnitus or to schedule an appointment with a tinnitus expert, call Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.