Audiology

All about the Buzz Feed (Tinnitus)

Yes this is an audiology blog and no I’m not writing about the ever popular website Buzz Feed but rather the buzz feed that many people here in their ears.  This feed is called tinnitus.  There are many causes of tinnitus ranging from excessive noise exposure, head trauma, medications, and ear disorders.  Tinnitus is very common and affects 50 millions people.  Twelve million of those affected by tinnitus find it severe enough to seek help.

“Does anything help?”  “I see all those commercials on television for tinnitus help, should I order it?” “The tinnitus is so annoying but people say nothing can be done.”  “I just want it to end.”

So if these above statements relate to you or someone you know, here are a few tips to help!

1.  If the tinnitus you are experiencing is annoying, find an audiologist.  Audiologists are trained to diagnose and help with relieving the effects of the tinnitus.  Audiologists know other professionals if they are needed and the best equipped to provide information and resources.

2.  If you tinnitus is pulsatile in nature or only in one ear, seek help from an audiologist.  These are red flags of a medical issue that should be dealt with in an expedient manner.

3.  If you are exposed to loud noise, wear hearing protection.  Remember 85dB is only safe for eight hours so a concert can definitely be damaging.

4.  Things such as stress, fatigue, and anxiety can exacerbate the tinnitus–try to relax! Patients have found relief through yoga and stress management exercises.

5.  Use a noise machine at night if you are disturbed by the tinnitus. Other people listen to fans, the radio, or television, which all are effective as well.

6.  If you have a hearing loss, seek proper treatment.  60% of patients who report tinnitus with hearing loss find a reduction in the severity with the use of hearing aids.  Some hearing aids are even specifically designed to help patients with tinnitus including Resound TS and the Widex Zen.

7.  When tinnitus can be debilitating, counseling and tinnitus retraining therapy is crucial and can be very effective.  Seek an expert that has training in this area and is able to provide support.

8.  So about those “magic pills”….while they will not make the tinnitus worse, there is no data to report their effectiveness.  Therefore, and more importantly, seek an audiologist who can lead you on the right path toward tinnitus help!

Tinnitus can be manageable and working with an audiologist can ensure that this will be handled appropriately.  All audiologists do not want to see patients bothered by the buzzing in your ears but rather allow you time to read BuzzFeed!

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

About Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D. is the owner of Chicago Hearing Services and a Doctor of Audiology dedicated to empowering her patients and the public with greater knowledge and education around hearing health.