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Tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tis), or ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. Although tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, it does not cause the loss, nor does a hearing loss cause tinnitus. Some instances of tinnitus are caused by infections or blockages in the ear, and the tinnitus can disappear once the underlying cause is treated. Certain drugs -- most notably aspirin, several types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, sedatives, and antidepressants, as well as quinine medications; tinnitus is cited as a potential side effect for about 200 prescription and nonprescription drugs. Tinnitus can worsen in some people if they drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drink caffeinated beverages, or eat certain foods. If you're not brushing and flossing regularly, you are at risk for gum disease and potential health problems. Therapist Steven Sultanoff explains the utility of humor in counseling, and Jeffrey Briar leads a session of Laughter Yoga on Laguna Beach.
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, Audiologists, scientists and doctors have discovered several lifestyle changes and tinnitus treatments that may give you some relief.
Eliminate or reduce some stress in different parts of your life; stress often makes tinnitus worse. Many types of devices, such as fans, radios and sound generators can be used as maskers to help tinnitus sufferers to fall sleep or get back to sleep.
Tinnitus disturbs lives and negatively affects the quality of life of about 2% of the adult world population.
AcknowledgmentsThis study was made possible by the Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin Research Funds. Pure tone audiogram measured on the left and right ear of the male and female tinnitus patients with hearing loss in the upper frequency range. Tinnitus frequency (A) and tinnitus loudness (B) measured in the right and left ear of the male and female tinnitus patients with hearing loss.
Hearing loss measured in the right and left ears of patients with compensated and decompensated tinnitus.
Total TQ scores (A) and scores of the subscale “somatic complaints” (B) measured in patients with left-side, right-side or bilateral tinnitus.
The Heart of the Matter: What Does America Really Know about Coronary Artery Disease Treatments? Although commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears”, people hear a variety of sounds such as: chirping, hissing, buzzing, roaring, whistling, clicking and more.
If you have Tinnitus you are one of 50 million people in the United States that suffer from Tinnitus. One of the most common causes of Tinnitus is exposure to excessively loud sounds such  as: a rock concert, gunshot, fire cracker, explosion, etc.
The following things can make Tinnitus worse: Loud Noise, Caffeine, Nicotine, Medications, Anti-biotics, Quinine, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen.
Relaxation Techniques have been known to relieve Tinnitus by reducing the amount of stress in your life. Drugs have been used to relieve Tinnitus although there is no drug that is specifically designed to do so.
Amplification (Hearing Aids), a form of Sound Therapy, can offer relief while wearing the hearing aids by amplifying the ambient environmental sounds that naturally cover the Tinnitus.
ReSound, the technology leader in hearing aid solutions, has introduced a combination hearing instrument to its Alera product line. So if your ears are ringing you may have a hearing loss and should have your hearing tested. In fact, some people with tinnitus experience no difficulty hearing, and in a few cases they even become so acutely sensitive to sound (hyperacusis) that they must take steps to muffle or mask external noises.
For reasons not yet entirely clear to researchers, stress and fatigue seem to worsen tinnitus. Allergies, tumors, problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.
Reviewing your history and completing an audiometric test will lead to the most likely causes and most effective treatment for your tinnitus. Tinnitus maskers are small electronic devices that look like hearing aids and are tuned to generate sound that masks or covers up the noise. Some tinnitus sufferers develop anxiety and other strong emotional responses to their symptoms.
The authors thank Nina Zirke and Theresa Morgenstern for collecting the data.ReferencesJastreboff, PJ. Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant-with single or multiple tones-and its perceived volume can range from subtle to shattering.
Of those, 16 Million have sought medical attention for their Tinnitus; and 2-3 million people are completely disabled from it.
Other causes might be head and neck trauma, ear wax build-up, ear infections, jaw misalignment (TMJ), and ototoxicity.
Zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, Gingko biloba, homeopathic remedies, anti-oxidants, and a product called Ring Stop have been known to offer relief for some people.
Anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, anticonvulsants, and anesthetics have successfully quieted Tinnitus for some patients.
Muscles and nerves in the jaw are closely connected to those in the ear and can interfere with the ears nerves resulting in Tinnitus. Wearable or non-wearable devices generate sound to completely or partially cover up the Tinnitus. Come in for a hearing test and see if the Alera TSTM hearing aid will offer you relief from Tinnitus.


Many of our local veterans have been provided with hearing aids from the Veteran’s Administration.
It is often worse when background noise is low, so you may be most aware of it at night when you're trying to fall asleep in a quiet room.
In severe cases, however, tinnitus can cause people to have difficulty concentrating and sleeping.
In such a case, other therapies -- both conventional and alternative -- may bring significant relief by either decreasing or covering up the unwanted sound.
The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear. Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus, with 12 million experiencing it so severely that it affects their daily lives. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved. Hearing aids create a dual benefit of enhancing hearing and masking or covering up the tinnitus.
Like hearing aids, they may provide relief, but will not enhance hearing and may interfere with understanding speech. Certain medicines may provide relief from these emotional reactions and provide some relief from the tinnitus. To analyze a possible association of the degree of hearing loss with the severity of tinnitus, we have performed a retrospective study using admission data on 531 patients suffering from chronic tinnitus. This perception can be induced by various dysfunctions on several levels of the peripheral or central auditory pathway [1]. It is important to discuss your particular Tinnitus situation with qualified health professionals such as an Audiologist, Otologist, or Otolaryngologist to make sure there are no underlying medical concerns causing the Tinnitus. Tinnitus sufferers can now find relief in a combination hearing instrument that can help in teaching the brain to ignore unwanted sounds.
The TSG is used to administer sounds that make the disturbing Tinnitus noise less noticeable, drawing your attention away from it.
This is a good thing as hearing loss is the #1 disability the veteran’s suffer from after serving our country. It may eventually interfere with work and personal relationships, resulting in psychological distress. Carpenters, pilots, rock musicians, street-repair workers, and landscapers are among those whose jobs put them at risk, as are people who work with chain saws, guns, or other loud devices or who repeatedly listen to loud music. The majority of patients with tinnitus receive partial or complete relief with the use of hearing aids. By relaxing, you have a chance to rest and better deal with the sounds related to tinnitus.
We have found that 83% of our tinnitus patients had a high frequency hearing loss corresponding to a noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Regardless of the original cause, all patients complain of hearing a tinnitus tone on either one (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) of the head or ears. Many have gone to Milwaukee in the past and are now going to the Audiology Clinic in Green Bay.
Depending on the case, tinnitus tone may have low, medium or high frequency and be either relatively quiet (0–3 dB), going up to relatively loud (more than 16 dB).
Some people use sound generators at night so they can listen to something other than their head noises when they are trying to fall asleep.
Interestingly, patients suffering from decompensated chronic tinnitus had a greater degree of hearing loss than the patients with compensated form of tinnitus. Tinnitus may take acute (up to 3 months), sub-acute (4–12 months) or a chronic turn (longer than a year).
In addition, we demonstrate that the degree of hearing loss positively correlates with the two subscales (“intrusiveness” and “auditory perceptional difficulties”) of the Tinnitus Questionnaire. Regarding the level of disturbance, tinnitus can be classified as compensated (low-level distress) or decompensated (high-level distress) [2]. A modified version of tinnitus retraining therapy: observing long-term outcome and predictors.
Our retrospective study provides indirect evidence supporting the hypothesis that the degree of noise-induced hearing loss influences the severity of tinnitus. The major problem in patients with decompensated tinnitus is sleep interference, because the tinnitus tone keeps the patients awake.
Other diseases that follow include depression, a variety of phobias, anxiety disorders, problems with concentration and in extreme cases—suicide.
Approximately 30 per 100 adults experience tinnitus, whereas about 1–5 persons per 100 suffer from tinnitus and seek medical help [3,4]. In the Western world, tinnitus has a big economic impact [5].The onset of tinnitus can have various basis such as neurologic, traumatic, infectious or drug-related [6], however, the major cause of tinnitus is a hearing loss [5]. Hearing loss is usually caused by the aging process (presbycusis) or by the overexposure to noise (noise-induced hearing loss, NIHL).
Occupational noise, together with environmental noise pollution, are two major factors contributing to the NIHL [7].
These, and a lot of other data, strongly indicate coexistence of both hearing dysfunctions. Based on the above data we put forward a hypothesis that the degree of hearing loss could negatively influence the severity of tinnitus.To test our hypothesis we used a retrospective study using data acquired from 531 tinnitus patients. This data were randomly collected on the admission of patients who reported to the day ward of Tinnitus Center at the Charite - Universitatsmedizin in Berlin between January 2008 and March 2010.
ParticipantsWe have obtained the data from 531 tinnitus patients (sub-acute and chronic) admitted to a 7-day multimodal tinnitus therapy.


In addition, tinnitus frequency (kHz) and tinnitus loudness (dB HL) were matched for each patient. Psychometry (Tinnitus Questionnaire)Tinnitus-related distress was assessed using validated standard German version of the tinnitus questionnaire (TQ). Influence of environmental factors on the evolution of industrial noise-induced hearing loss. The TQ is composed of 52 items allocated to six scales: emotional distress, cognitive distress, intrusiveness, auditory perceptual difficulties, sleep disturbances and somatic complaints [12]. The severity level of tinnitus was assigned as “compensated” (low-level distress) with TQ score ? 46 points and “decompensated” (high-level distress) with TQ score > 46 points.
Spearman's rank correlation was used to test the statistical relationship between hearing loss and tinnitus parameters or tinnitus severity. Predominant Number of Patients with Chronic Tinnitus Has a Hearing LossOf all 531 tinnitus patients tested, 441 (83%; 220 men and 221 women) had a hearing loss in the upper frequencies (Figure 1), corresponding to a pattern found in the NIHL [13].
Assessing audiological, pathophysiological and psychological variables in tinnitus patients with or without hearing loss. There were no significant differences in the hearing loss between the left and the right ear and between male and female patients in this group. The mean age of tinnitus patients with NIHL-like audiogram was 50 years (SD = 13, min 16, max 79), with patients most frequently ranging between 40–60 years of age. Tinnitus Characteristics in Patients with Hearing LossOf 441 tinnitus patients with NIHL-like audiogram, 319 patients had pure tone tinnitus whereas 122 patients had noise tinnitus.
The values did not differ between female and male patients except for the subscale “somatic complaints” with woman having significantly greater scores than the male patients (Table 1). Of the 441 patients, 335 patients suffered from compensated tinnitus (TQ ? 46 points) and 106 patients suffered from decompensated tinnitus (TQ > 46 points). 3.4 The Degree of Hearing Loss Correlates with Some of the Psychometric Parameters Measured by TQHearing loss was of significantly higher degree in patients with decompensated tinnitus than in patients with compensated tinnitus (Figure 3).
This means that tinnitus patients with greater hearing loss experience higher tinnitus-related distress.
We found no correlation between tinnitus frequency or loudness and distress caused by tinnitus.
Influence of Age on the Psychometric ScoresOur recent study [14] revealed that the age of patients may influence their TQ values.
Consequently, in the present study, we have subdivided the patients into three age groups and analyzed their TQ scores as a function of age. Influence of Tinnitus Lateralization on the Psychometric ScoresWe compared the tinnitus-related distress between the patients with left-sided, right-sided and bilateral tinnitus.
DiscussionOur present work was aimed at analyzing the association between noise, the grade of the noise-induced hearing loss and the severity of tinnitus. Our results partially corroborate the findings of others by demonstrating a strong bond between the noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus [10].
In fact, we have shown that 83% of patients with chronic and sub-acute forms of tinnitus have a high-frequency hearing loss, which is a substantially higher percentage than the 57% reported by Savastano or the 63% reported by Martines et al. The sample size in all studies was roughly similar, as were the age and gender distribution. However, there was a major difference in the duration of tinnitus between our and the other studies. In the Savastano study, 49% of tinnitus patients had suffered from tinnitus for a time shorter than one year – a group classified as acute and sub-acute tinnitus. Based on the above evidence, one is tempted to cautiously speculate that the tinnitus associated with hearing loss has a greater chance of chronification than the tinnitus without hearing loss. In the other study, Attias and colleagues have indentified a subgroup of patients with tinnitus, who were actively looking for a remedy.
Our study gives a base for the explanation of how the degree of noise-induced hearing loss indirectly affects the severity of tinnitus by influencing negatively the loudness of tinnitus. In agreement with this, the degree of hearing loss correlated positively with two subscales (“intrusiveness” and “auditory perceptional difficulties”) of the Tinnitus Questionnaire. These particular items of TQ regard the ability to communicate, which is an integral part of the quality of life. With the increased distress of tinnitus, patients withdraw from their normal social life and avoid contacts with others, consistent with the decompensated form of tinnitus.
Interestingly, we found that the patients suffering with decompensated tinnitus had a greater degree of hearing loss than the patients with compensated tinnitus.Noise pollution and occupational noise were demonstrated to induce asymmetric hearing loss, with the left side being affected more than the right one [13]. Although our analyses demonstrated no statistically significant differences in the hearing loss between the left and the right sides, we found that left-sided tinnitus is more distressing than the right-sided one.
Moreover, patients with the left-sided tinnitus had more complaints in the somatic subscale than the right-sided tinnitus patients. This could be attributed to neuroanatomic differences between the left and right parts of the auditory system.Noise—either occupational or environmental noise pollution—is a major preventable cause of the hearing loss and therefore of chronic tinnitus. The consequences of noise exposure last for life, as the sensory auditory epithelium never regenerates.
The price to pay for the noise exposure includes not only a limited ability to hear but also increased chance to develop chronic decompensated tinnitus, which separates the affected persons from normal social activities and significantly decreases the quality of life.
ConclusionsOur study demonstrates that the chain of events started by overexposure to noise not only induces the hearing loss but also tinnitus with its co-morbidities, finally resulting in a decreased quality of life.



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