The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that approximately 10 percent of the U.S. adult population — over 25 million Americans — experience some form of tinnitus.

Tinnitus manifests as buzzing, whirring, hissing, whistling, or can be a single high-pitched beep.

As of this writing, no specific cause of tinnitus has been identified. Tinnitus, according to medical authorities, is more of a symptom.

Tinnitus is a widespread medical problem, and audiologists are frequently the medical professionals who identify and provide treatment.

Millions of individuals in the United States have tinnitus. This condition can be secondary to sudden or extended exposure to loud noises, change in medications, increase or decrease in caffeine intake, change in weight, presbycusis, a medical reaction, or other underlying medical concerns.

Tinnitus causes and triggers

Tinnitus can be caused or exacerbated by several factors.

It is commonly caused by damage to the inner ear hair cells. Small, fragile hairs line the inner ear, following the direction of sound waves. The motion allows the hair cells in the ears to generate electrical messages to the brain, which are then translated into sound.

Tinnitus occurs when the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, causing them to release random electrical signals to the brain.

Tinnitus can also be caused by: 

  • long-term medical issues
  • ear nerve damage 
  • problems with the brain’s hearing center

What age does tinnitus usually start?

Can you be too young or too old for tinnitus?

Tinnitus has been documented in approximately 15% of the world’s population; the majority  ranges in age between 40 and 80.  Chronic tinnitus prevalence rises with age, increasing to 14.3% in adults aged 60 to 69.

How to manage tinnitus

If you think you are experiencing the first signs of tinnitus (ringing in your ears, sensitivity to sounds in quiet environments), seek medical attention right away.

Tinnitus treatment and management will largely depend on your symptoms. Below are some popular ways to manage tinnitus:

  • Learn relaxation strategies. Tinnitus can be more pronounced with focus on the tinnitus. Learning how to relax can help bring relief and prevent it from worsening. 
  • Avoid being in places that are too quiet. 
  • Increase ambient noise so you can be distracted from focusing on tinnitus sounds. 
  • Use appropriate hearing protection.
  • Maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • Neck massage: Tinnitus symptoms can be reduced by relieving tension in specific neck muscles and with medical massage treatments. targets specific muscles in the head, neck, upper back, and jaw. When done by a professional, this massage may help relieve tension and lessen the severity of tinnitus symptoms. 

When should I see a doctor for tinnitus?

You should see an audiologist immediately if 

  • You notice that tinnitus is only in one ear
  • The sound is negatively impacting your sleep and ability to focus
  • You experience hearing loss and dizziness
  • You notice that the sound seems to be pulsating or in sync with your heartbeat. Problems with blood pressure can induce a specific type of tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus occurs when tinnitus sounds like a pulsing or pulsating sound in the ears. This type of tinnitus is usually caused by blood vessel injury.

Does tinnitus ever go away?

ew cases of tinnitus may subside within 6-12 months of onset. With severe tinnitus, you will most likely hear it less frequently over time, with treatment, even if it lingers beyond this timeframe.

Is tinnitus a physical or mental problem?

Tinnitus is a medical ailment that causes ringing in the ear or head even when there is no external physical noise present. Tinnitus isn’t an illness in and of itself. It is a sign of a problem with the auditory (hearing) system, which comprises the ears and the brain.

Accurate diagnosis is key when dealing with tinnitus. Working with an audiologist specializing in tinnitus will help you overcome this condition.

Audiologists in Austin, TX

If you are experiencing tinnitus, hearing loss, or some other hearing issues, it’s best to see an audiologist to get a hearing test.

RK Audiology has audiologists ready to help you get back on track and live your best life.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation!