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Does Tinnitus Cause Hearing Loss?

Man with Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a very common condition, but it’s often poorly understood. Many people who experience ringing and buzzing sounds in their ears don’t really understand why. In many cases, tinnitus is linked to hearing loss, but it is possible for those who have tinnitus to be able to hear well, and for people with hearing loss to display no symptoms of tinnitus. If you’re worried about tinnitus, or you’d like to learn more about what it is and how it is associated with hearing loss, hopefully, you will find this guide helpful.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus occurs when you’re able to hear noises that are not produced by an external source. In most cases, this is a ringing sound. The vast majority of people will experience temporary bouts of tinnitus in their lifetime. Usually, this happens when you are exposed to very loud noises, for example, when you go to a concert, or you’ve been to a nightclub. When you get into bed, and it’s quiet, you’ll probably find that you can hear whooshing, buzzing, and ringing sounds. Short-term tinnitus is nothing to worry about, but if you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, or the level of sound has become more intense, it’s wise to seek advice.

Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?

It is relatively common for people who have tinnitus to experience a degree of hearing loss. Tinnitus doesn’t cause hearing loss as such, but the two are linked. Often, tinnitus is associated with hearing loss, and this connection is particularly strong when the inner ear is damaged as a result of exposure to loud levels of noise. If you work in a noisy environment, or you listen to music at high volumes, you could be at risk of both tinnitus and hearing loss. Hearing loss can also be a by-product of aging. It is much more common for tinnitus to be connected with sensorineural hearing loss, for example, aging and prolonged exposure to noise than conductive hearing loss. Causes of conductive hearing loss include infections and blockages. Tinnitus can also be caused by a perforated eardrum and by a condition known as Meniere’s disease.

If you struggle to hear, the symptoms of tinnitus can be exacerbated. If your hearing is perfect, you’ll pick up every noise around you, and this can help to distract you from tinnitus and mask those noises you can hear that don’t have an outside source. If you can’t hear very well, the lack of external noise will make hissing, humming, and ringing noises more intense.

Do I need to seek help?

Tinnitus is common, and in the vast majority of cases, it is a temporary response to levels of noise that exceed those that you are used to. If you’ve been dancing next to a speaker all night, for example, it’s highly likely that you’ll continue to hear noises even when the music stops playing. In this scenario, there’s no need to panic about tinnitus, and you should find that symptoms and signs subside within a few hours. If you experience tinnitus on a regular basis, your symptoms are constant, or they have got worse recently, it’s hugely beneficial to seek advice. It’s particularly important to take action if you have tinnitus following an accident or trauma, you feel dizzy or weak, or you have noticed that your hearing has deteriorated.

What can be done for tinnitus?

There are several possible causes of tinnitus, and the first objective is to identify the underlying problem. If tinnitus is linked to hearing loss, multiple treatment options may help. If your hearing ability is reduced, and this makes symptoms of tinnitus more apparent, you may benefit from wearing hearing aids. A hearing instrument specialist can provide you with all the information you need to understand how hearing aids work, and how they could help you cope with tinnitus and improve your hearing.

Hearing tests will be carried out to determine the extent of hearing loss, and you’ll be able to explore different types of hearing aids. Sound machines can also help to ease the symptoms of tinnitus by distracting you when it’s quiet, for example, at night. Some people also find tinnitus retraining therapy very useful. This technique involves training your brain to focus on different noises and to block out those caused by tinnitus.

If you’re struggling with tinnitus, or you’re worried about your hearing, why not get in touch with our friendly team at Armand’s Hearing Center today? Call us at one of the following locations to learn more about our services, Bradenton: 941-748-9800 or Sun City: 813-938-1148.