Tinnitus is known as a ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing sound you experience in your ears, even if there is no outside source of the sound.
According to the American Tinnitus Association, 50 million Americans experience tinnitus to some degree, 16 million have tinnitus severe enough that they seek medical attention, and 2 million Americans have tinnitus so severe that it affects their ability to function on a daily basis.
It is important to remember that tinnitus in itself is a symptom. It doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong with you ears, but it often means that you have been exposed to high levels of noise or you have a degree of hearing damage. However, there are many other factors that can cause tinnitus such as stress levels, head colds, certain medicines, ear or sinus infections, heart disease, brain tumors, hormonal changes, thyroid abnormalities, Ménierè's disease, and more.Learn More
The good news is that while there is no known cure for persistent tinnitus, there are treatment options available. Many hearing aids have tinnitus therapy features that help soothe ringing in the ears and help you focus on the sound you’re supposed to hear.
Many of the world’s leading hearing aids have advanced their tinnitus therapies greatly to address all aspects of tinnitus. They offer a wide range of customizable tinnitus relief sounds—from white noise to ocean waves—for your hearing aid. This can even be controlled through an app for your smartphone, opening up a whole new world of tinnitus relief. Depending on your severity of tinnitus, you can also use sound generators, special pillows, or additional smartphone apps to play sounds that reduce tinnitus.
If tinnitus is impacting your life, make an appointment with your local provider today.
An ear infection, technically known as acute otitis media, is a bacterial or viral infection affecting the middle ear —the air-filled space behind the eardrum. Although most ear infections are viral and will clear up on their own without any treatment, some people are susceptible to reoccurring ear infections which can lead to hearing loss and other complications. Even though anyone can get an ear infection, frequent adult ear infections are usually a sign of a more serious health problem.
Ear infections are more common in children under the age of five and statistics show that five out of six children will have at least one by their third birthday.
Ear infections often follow other illnesses such as the cold, flu, or allergies that cause congestion and swelling of the throat, nasal passages, and eustachian tubes. The eustachian tubes are located in the throat behind the nasal passages connecting to the middle ear. So when they swell, fluid and bacteria becomes trapped in the middle ear, creating an infection.
Adults and children who have severe seasonal allergies are more prone to ear infections. When the nasal passages and eustachian tubes swell they block fluid from escaping the middle ear which traps bacteria leading to infection. Other factors to consider are poor air quality such as smoke and pollution, and exposure to large groups or sick individuals.
Babies between the ages of six months and two years old are at the highest risk for ear infections. This is due to the small size of their eustachian tubes and their underdeveloped immune systems. They are more susceptible to becoming sick and further increasing the chances for an ear infection. Also infants who are bottle fed while laying down have a greater chance of ear infection than those who are breastfed.
Symptoms of ear infections can vary between children and adults, and the severity of the infection. For adults symptoms include ear pain and inflammation, fluid draining from the ear, tenderness to touch, and trouble hearing. Symptoms for children are more extensive, including:
If symptoms last for more than a day be sure to visit your doctor to receive the appropriate treatment plan.
For bacterial ear infections the only treatment option is to visit your doctor and receive antibiotics. Be sure to take your antibiotics for the entire time period instructed in order to ensure the ear infection will clear up.
Most mild ear infections are viral, meaning they will go away without prescription antibiotics. Some simple remedies that will alleviate symptoms and discomfort include: applying a warm cloth to the infected ear, taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen, and using ear drops to relieve pain.
If none of the above treatments work for your ear infection be sure to consult with your doctor in order to prevent any serious complications or hearing loss.
The best way to prevent ear infections is to decrease exposure to the risk factors that cause them. Some common tips for staying healthy and preserving your ear health include: washing your hands often, avoiding secondhand smoke, and preventing illnesses such as the common cold and flu.
Some prevention tips for children and babies are to keep them away from sick individuals, make sure they wash their hands frequently, avoid triggering allergens, and for babies, to never lay them down while feeding them with a bottle.
Ménierè's disease affects the inner ear and vestibular system, which is the system that helps you maintain your balance. It causes fluid build-up in the inner ear and the part of the cochlea called the organ of Corti to become swollen, leading to possible symptoms of fullness, dizziness, and fluctuating hearing loss.
Approximately 615,000 individuals have been diagnosed with Ménierè's disease in the United States. Another 45,500 are newly diagnosed each year.
Unfortunately, doctors don’t know what causes Ménierè's disease, and there is no cure. Researchers think that it may have to do with fluid levels in the inner ear or the closing of blood vessels, similar to what happens in people who get migraine headaches. Other researchers believe that Ménierè's disease occurs because of viral infections, allergies, or autoimmune reactions. The disease tends to run in families, so there could also be a genetic link.
Symptoms of Ménierè's disease include fluctuating hearing loss, severe dizziness, lack of balance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), ear pain, and pressure. The disease can exist in mild or severe forms.
Treatment for people with Ménierè's disease includes devices that deliver air pulses to the middle ear and medicines to help you control dizziness and fluid retention in your body. Surgery may also be required. There is no cure for Ménierè's disease yet, but some of these treatments may alleviate symptoms.
Doctors estimate that 6 out of 10 people with Ménierè's disease will get better on their own or can control their symptoms with diet, medications, or hearing devices. Limiting salt intake and taking water pills may help to reduce the amount of fluid pressure in the inner ear. Some people also limit or avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and smoking, as these things tend to make symptoms worse.
Put Your Hearing to the Test
Sometimes, hearing loss happens so gradually that it can be difficult to notice at first. However, there are some common signs that indicate you may have hearing loss. Want some answers now? Take this short survey to determine if it's time for you to make a hearing appointment.
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