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Understanding Tinnitus

Understanding Tinnitus

It is estimated that 360,000 Canadians experience Tinnitus, 150,000 of which find it affects their quality of life (Canadian Tinnitus Association).

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. It is a symptom rather than a condition. While it seems the sound of Tinnitus is heard in the ear, it is actually produced in the brain.

The sound of Tinnitus may:

  • Be constant or periodic
  • Decrease and increase in intensity
  • Can be mild to debilitating
  • Vary in sound pattern (ringing, buzzing, swooshing, roaring, etc.)

Causes of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a condition but a symptom. It may be a symptom of:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ototoxic medication
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Ear infections
  • Ear wax
  • Head injury
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Sinus pressure/ nasal congestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Other medical conditions

Tips for Managing Your Tinnitus

The most effective treatment for Tinnitus symptoms is to treat the underlying cause, if possible. Unfortunately, most
causes of Tinnitus cannot be identified or remedied.

Some common types of Tinnitus management include:

  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Reducing Stress
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Masking (hearing aid program, sound conditioners, etc.)
  • Dietary restrictions (sodium, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, etc.)

Audiologists and ENTs often work together in identifying the cause of the Tinnitus and in providing the treatment. A treatment that works for one person may not work for another.

Individuals may be interested in our Meniere’s & Tinnitus Resource Group.

 

 

Understanding Meniere’s Disease

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 1000, or approximately 35,000 Canadians experience Meniere’s Disease.

What is Meniere’s Disease?

 

Mature woman holding her hand to her ear listening on a white backgroundMeniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that may affect balance, hearing and cause Tinnitus and/or a feeling of fullness in the ear. It affects males and females equally and the age of onset is usually between the ages of 40 and 60 years.

Characteristics of Meniere’s Disease:

  • Progressive hearing loss
  • Temporary hearing loss during episodes or attacks
  • Tinnitus (fluctuating)
  • Acute episodes or attacks of dizziness (vertigo) and nausea
  • Balance problems
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear (Aural fullness)

 

Causes of Meniere’s Disease

There is no known cause of Meniere’s Disease. A popular theory is that it is caused by an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear (endolymph).

Possible causes of abnormal fluid in the inner ear include:

  • Autoimmune reactions
  • Allergies
  • Viral infection
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Head trauma
  • Migraines
  • Improper drainage or blockage of fluid

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is usually made by an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT). There is no known cure for Meniere’s disease. Treatment usually focuses on relieving the symptoms of the disease.

Common treatments for managing the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease:

  • Dietary restrictions (caffeine, salt, etc.)
  • Behaviour changes (quit smoking, reduced alcohol, etc.)
  • Cognitive therapy and stress management
  • Pressure pulse treatment
  • Alternative medical therapies (acupuncture, herbal supplements, etc.)
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy
  • Hearing aid (to treat hearing loss)
  • Surgery
  • Educate yourself on the disease and treatments
  • Medications (for dizziness, anti-nauseates, fluid retention, injections, etc.)

Individuals may be interested in our Meniere’s & Tinnitus Resource Group.

Questions or Comments?

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