Affecting roughly 25 million people in the US today, tinnitus is more common than the general population realizes. Often associated with ringing in the ears, this condition can present itself in many different ways depending on the patient.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can affect a patient in two different forms:

Subjective — The more common of the two, subjective cases include problems with the inner, middle, and outer part of the ear, resulting in a unique ringing sound that only the patient can hear. This can be a result of nerve damage within your auditory system.

Objective — Only showing up in 5% of all tinnitus patients, an objective case is much rarer. They are more affected by increased blood flow, vibrations in the ear, and overuse of auditory muscles.

Common Causes

These scenarios are just some examples of ways people incur tinnitus.

  • Aging can deplete the nerve endings within our ears over time.
  • Trauma to the head
  • Loud noises can cause instant ringing or above-average noises can cause the same damage over time.
  • Interference within the ear canal such as wax buildup, inflammation, or any kind of growth
  • Certain prescriptions can also come with side effects related to tinnitus.

Treatment Options

Unfortunately at this stage in science and technology, there is no cure for tinnitus. However, no matter the type of tinnitus you or a loved one may have, we can treat it and manage it.

Reducing loud noises within your controlled environment is a great place to start. Coupled with technology and the advice of trained professional staff, tinnitus can be minimized.

Lifestyle changes seem to have an impact on improving the overall well-being of tinnitus patients as well. Whether it be getting more sleep or reducing stress, these methods have shown success.

Masking solutions can also provide relief to some by drowning out the constant ringing from tinnitus. Using a fan or opening the window to listen to street traffic can reduce the effects. Or, investing in a sounds machine that matches sounds to your environment may provide temporary relief.

Untreated Tinnitus

Tinnitus can grow exponentially. People can experience a mild form of tinnitus, which doesn’t significantly affect their quality of life.

However, others find the symptoms grow worse and never dissipate. Over time, this can lead to social and emotional issues, as the sensation affects their personal goals and relationships with others.

Cognitive issues can arise as well, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

We’re Here To Help

At Scottsdale Ear, Nose, & Throat, we provide professional hearing care that includes preventative treatment, diagnosis, and solutions to either restore hearing or manage it.

We bring together the very best physicians and support staff dedicated to providing you with an exceptional experience. We strive to provide the very best medical treatment and the very best patient experience.

If you suspect yourself or a loved one is experiencing tinnitus symptoms or is generally struggling with hearing, book a comprehensive hearing exam here.

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Dr. Natacia N. Howard

Natacia is from a small village in northern Wisconsin. She obtained her Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.) from A.T. Still University – Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2013. She joined Scottsdale Ear, Nose and Throat in 2016 and specializes in vestibular diagnostic and hearing aid fittings. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her husband, family and friends, cuddle her kitties and play softball.
    You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again – Regina’s Story

    Regina has suffered from hearing problems since she was an infant, recognized as regular chronic ear infections. And, as with unfortunate events, she has experienced a multitude of audiology catastrophes.

    It was many years before Regina crossed paths with Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat; where her lifetime of hearing problems was addressed effectively and treated with the delicate care that she desperately required.

    Regina’s journey began when she was taken to a regular paediatrician by her mother from a young age. Her ears were, what we describe as an audiologists recipe for disaster, ‘flushed out’.

    This dangerous procedure caused a nasty infection, which spread to her mastoid bone and, at the age of 15, she underwent a tympanoplasty mastoidectomy to stop the infection spreading. This only forbade her future struggles with hearing loss. 

    As with poor diagnosis, Regina was faced with another canaloplasty which didn’t work. Soon after, she received a BAHA, which is a cochlear implant in her skull that acts as a sound processor that detects sound and transforms it into vibrations. 

    However, suffering from a history of poor hearing care, she was unaware of the former issues her ear presented.

    By now, this would be described as any audiologists nightmare. But, we’re proud to have helped Regina on her road to optimum hearing and reconnect her to her loved ones.

    When she arrived at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat it was evident that she was losing hearing on her right side. At this point, she was fitted with a ReSound hearing device, which provided the catalyst to a new and improved hearing.

    The first thing Regina noticed was the indefinite sound she had been making whilst emptying the dishwasher, completely unaware of the noise she was making!

    “I mean, the detail that I can hear now it’s like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I was making that much noise. I need to be quieter!”

    Treated with professional care, Regina received a comprehensive hearing assessment with Dr. Debra Hamila.

    “I just love, love, love Dr. Hamila, she is such a professional and loving person. I was so impressed with the office and what she did with the ReSound, I just love her.”

    Like many others, it takes years for people to realize they have a hearing problem. Regina described this moment as life-changing.

    “You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again. Especially now I’m a full-time Grammy Nanny, I can hear so much more and it has enriched my life incredibly.”

    What advice would you give to someone who is deliberating on taking the first step towards better hearing?

    “My advice to them would be to have a hearing test. Especially as we age our hearing goes down. It’s really unfortunate that people carry their pride and are not willing to learn to walk with the rock in their shoe. You don’t realise you’re waking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again.”

    Regina is one of many patients who has been impacted by our audiological services and we are proud to have been able to provide the tool towards better hearing and a lifetime of many more memories.