Why do I have tinnitus?
Tinnitus is an involuntary perception of sound that is typically a byproduct of a damaged hearing system.
Does having tinnitus mean there is something medically wrong with me?
Tinnitus can imply the presence of some medical pathologies, but in most cases, tinnitus itself is harmless. If you experience tinnitus, you should consult with a hearing care professional.
Who should I see if I have tinnitus?
A qualified hearing care professional is typically a good start. Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctors, or Otolaryngologists/Otologists can also be a source of information. There are no quick fixes for managing tinnitus. There are however, proven management plans that can, over time, help one learn to cope and more effectively live with tinnitus.
What can be done about my tinnitus? Can my tinnitus be cured?
In certain instances where the origin of tinnitus is known, for example, dietary habits and side effects of medication, proper management can help reduce and, sometimes, eliminate the tinnitus. For most tinnitus patients, there is no known cure, but there are many treatment options available to help you understand your tinnitus better and provide relief.
How long will it take to make my tinnitus go away?
Tinnitus rarely goes away completely. Learning to focus on more important sounds, and putting the tinnitus in the ‘back of your mind’ is the goal of tinnitus management. How long it takes to acclimate to one’s tinnitus varies from person to person, and typically takes between 3-18 months.
Are there devices that can help me with my tinnitus?
Yes. A tinnitus sound generator (TSG) is a device that emits sound, which can be modified according to different parameters. It can be used as a tool in Sound Therapy, or any other type of tinnitus management plan. There are also other options, such as table top sound generators, sound pillows and even hearing instruments.
What if I have a hearing loss as well?
Some of the more modern hearing instruments today, also have tinnitus sound generators built into them. These devices are called combination devices, since they can address both hearing loss and tinnitus in the same instrument.
Will I always have to use a TSG/combination device?
Learning to cope with your tinnitus is a process, and should be delicately handled and treated over a period of time. Some people find immediate relief when using a TSG or combination device, reporting that the device helps take the edge off the tinnitus. For others, it takes longer. Over time, it is expected that habituation to the tinnitus will occur, and subsequently you can learn to live comfortably with tinnitus, using the TSG/combination device less frequently.
Should I sleep with the devices in my ears?
It is not recommended to sleep with the TSG/combination devices in your ears. There are other, more appropriate devices that can be used during sleep, such as table top sound generators and sound pillows.
Are there any quick recommendations to help reduce my tinnitus?
As previously stated, there are no quick fixes to tinnitus, but there are some good practices that can help. 1) Avoid complete silence. 2) Avoid excessive doses of aspirin. 3) Use a fan, table top sound generator (ocean waves, birds, rain sounds) or quiet radio music at night to reduce effects of irritating tinnitus as you are trying to sleep. 4) Increase the background sounds in the environment, such as opening a window, or turning on the TV/radio. 5) Keep busy to decrease the focus on the tinnitus.