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  • Writer's pictureWidex Emirates Hearing Care

Common Misconceptions about Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

tinnitus and hearing loss
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Tinnitus is a neurological condition which has proven difficult and without a specific treatment. There are many misconceptions about tinnitus because it can be subjective. Each person experiences tinnitus in a different way.

In this article, we are going to separate fact from fiction as we highlight some of the beliefs spread about tinnitus.

Hearing loss and tinnitus are commonly seen together. That explains why they are always associated with one another. Tinnitus can be a very challenging condition to handle. It can disrupt your daily life and affect your hearing, mood, work, social life and even your sleep.

The simple meaning of tinnitus is when your head is filled with different sounds that no one else hears.

Lots of myths are up in the air about tinnitus. No matter what you hear, you need to know what is right and what is a misconception. You also need to know how to dispel them!

  • Tinnitus is not a disease.

Tinnitus is a symptom of other conditions, one of which is hearing loss. It can be a symptom of depression, high blood pressure, anxiety and many other underlying medical conditions. Many examples of health issues can contribute to tinnitus are:

  1. Damaging noise

  2. Neurological damage

  3. Traumatic brain injury

  4. Ototoxic drugs

  • There is a cure for tinnitus.

There are many myths about tinnitus and its treatment. It is true that there is no remedy for tinnitus. However, there are many treatment options that proved to be effective in improving and lessening the symptoms of tinnitus. They allow patients to manage their condition on daily basis, having a good quality of life and making it easier to cope with it. Such include:

  1. Protecting your ears- wearing ear plugs or protection for your ears is very important because it saves you from getting exposed to very loud noises that harm your ears.

  2. Sound therapy- it minimizes the contrast between the surrounding noises of everyday life and the symptoms of tinnitus.

  3. Counseling- visiting trained and experienced audiologists can help minimize tinnitus symptoms and effects. Seeking help in how to manage tinnitus can be very beneficial in soothing the symptoms and learning how to live with them.

  4. Relaxation exercises- tinnitus and stress come along together. Stress can have drastic effects on tinnitus. Taking the time to walk, practice breathing techniques and stretch can release all the stress accompanied with tinnitus and relieve the patient.

  5. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy- it is a potential treatment for moderate or severe tinnitus, a combination of sound therapy and counseling which trains the brain to ignore the different sounds in your ear.

  6. ZEN tones found in hearing aids- these tones are available in all Widex hearing aids. They make ringing in the ears less noticeable.

  • Tinnitus is not always temporary.

Some forms of tinnitus are temporary, while others are long-lasting. Tinnitus sounds include:

1. Mild tinnitus

– This is often masked by louder sounds.

– They may notice these sounds in very quiet environments, like when reading a book or when trying to sleep.

2. High-pitched tinnitus

– These sounds are related to the posture: when sitting, turning the head in a certain way or lying down.

  • There are pills that can cure tinnitus.

Many companies try to sell pills that convince patients to cure tinnitus. Research have found that all these supplements and medications have not proved to be the cure for this condition. There is no ‘magic pill’ that can get rid of tinnitus. The only way to cure tinnitus is through the aforementioned conditions above.

  • Tinnitus is not all in the head

Tinnitus is a neurological condition that affects the function of the auditory system in the brain and the inner ear. Whether it is characterized as objective or subjective tinnitus, it is not an imagined state. Just because you cannot ‘see’ tinnitus doesn’t mean it is not there. You don’t have to suffer from tinnitus in silence. There are many health care specialists and experts, like audiologists, that can help you manage tinnitus and lessen its effects on your life. Some of the effects include:

  1. Anxiety

  2. Mood swings

  3. Sleeping issues

  4. Anger

  5. Depression

  6. Issues with concentration

  7. Isolation

  • Hearing aids help with tinnitus.

Many people believe that hearing aids are not helpful in the case of tinnitus. On the contrary, hearing aids are very effective when coping with tinnitus. They improve the symptoms of tinnitus and help the patient hear better.

  1. New developments in hearing aid technology can address the symptoms of tinnitus by increasing the sounds of external noise the patients hear, thus masking these symptoms.

  2. For those suffering from hearing loss, hearing aids limit the volume of sound delivered to the ear in loud environments.

  • Tinnitus is not restricted to old people only.

Many people think that tinnitus, along with hearing loss, are associated with old age. It is true that hearing loss develops more with age as the brain and the auditory nerves get tired with time. What is not true is that it occurs at old age only. Tinnitus has been reported in all age groups, including small children. Different races, socioeconomic backgrounds and health statuses can get tinnitus.

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  • Tinnitus is not harmless

Tinnitus is fortunately often harmful. However, in some people, it can signal serious medical conditions that shouldn’t be ignored such as:

  1. Heart diseases

  2. High blood pressure

  3. Acoustic neuroma

You should not disregard the ringing in the ears, or any other sound associated with tinnitus. You should always seek help and advice when experiencing these sounds.

  • Tinnitus doesn’t necessarily get worse over time.

Tinnitus does not get progressively worse with time in all cases. Symptoms might fluctuate with time- they might improve or get worse depending on the condition. When patients habituate to their tinnitus, the symptoms improve.

  • Tinnitus doesn’t always seem like ‘ringing in the ear’

The condition does not manifest like ringing in everyone’s case. Tinnitus usually takes many different forms of sounds, including:

  1. Ringing

  2. Buzzing

  3. Hissing

  4. Humming

  5. Roaring

  6. Clicking

  7. Whistling

  8. Screeching

  9. Pulsing

  10. Whooshing

  • Not everyone with tinnitus eventually goes deaf

Not everyone with tinnitus means they are going to become deaf. Tinnitus and hearing loss can coexist as we mentioned earlier, but that doesn’t mean that both conditions will always happen every time. You can suffer from tinnitus without having hearing loss and hearing loss doesn’t always lead to tinnitus.

  • Not only those who suffer from hearing loss get tinnitus

Hearing loss and tinnitus are related. That doesn’t mean that they always should happen together. You can develop tinnitus without hearing loss.

  1. If you constantly get exposed to loud noises such as rock concerts or explosions, you might temporarily suffer from ringing in the ears.

  2. Ototoxic medications can cause tinnitus. Usually ringing in the ears is the first sign of tinnitus.

  • Changing the diet can make tinnitus go away

Many people believe that certain additives and foods like caffeine, sodium and alcohol aggravate tinnitus. That is untrue. They are not the root cause. Tinnitus should be addressed separately.

It is always important to eat balanced and healthy diet and to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. One of the management strategies of tinnitus includes dietary and lifestyle changes. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean this technique alone will ‘cure’ tinnitus.

There you go. All these misconceptions are cleared up! Knowing the truth about tinnitus gives you the opportunity to effectively approach the condition in the right way.

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