Tinnitus is the perception of noise when no actual external noise is present. Often described as a ringing in the ears, tinnitus is a common problem that affects the well-being of about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself — it’s a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury, prolonged exposure to loud noises, high blood pressure, stress or a circulatory system disorder.
Although bothersome, tinnitus usually isn’t a sign of something serious. Although it can worsen with age, for many people, chronic tinnitus can improve with treatment. Treating an identified underlying cause sometimes helps. Other treatments reduce or mask the noise in the inner ear, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Hearing loss is the cause of 90% of all cases of Tinnitus. So our audiologists and hearing specialists will often tell anyone suffering from tinnitus to start first with a hearing test. An assessment of the auditory system will determine if hearing loss is present. If hearing loss is present we will recommend the patient to address the hearing loss first, which typically involves the use of hearing aids. There are other causes of tinnitus and if your case isn’t due to hearing loss we can still work with you to identify what is causing it.
There are a number of treatment options when dealing with tinnitus. Often it can be remedied with hearing aids or masking devices when hearing loss is the cause. When hearing aids are not able to help or when the patient has normal hearing, the next option available is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT).
Bow River Hearing has a dedicated Tinnitus Treatment Centre where many of our clinicians are trained TRT therapists and practiced in treating those who experience tinnitus.
TRT is a form of habituation therapy designed to help people suffering from tinnitus. Through the use of counseling and sound therapy, the therapist aims to remove the negative associations associated with the tinnitus and to weaken tinnitus related neuronal activity.
While TRT may never completely eliminate the sound of tinnitus, tinnitus research and many studies have shown that TRT is an effective treatment that significantly reduces the discomfort and problem. TRT can significantly improve the quality of life for those suffering from tinnitus symptoms.