Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the human ear or head in the absence of an external sound. Tinnitus is usually described as “ringing”, “roaring” or “buzzing”. The characterization of tinnitus varies for every individual. It may continually occur or be intermittent; it may be annoying or debilitating to an individual. Tinnitus is commonly associated with damage to the auditory system; however; it is common for normal hearing individuals to experience this as well. Researchers have yet to determine the exact cause of tinnitus, but there are theories whether the pathology is within the inner ear, in the brain, or both.
Treatments for Tinnitus
At the moment there are no absolute cures for tinnitus. The common non-medical treatment for tinnitus suffers is masking. Masking is performed by producing an external sound that masks the tinnitus. Maskers include sound machines that play the masking noise in the surrounding area or a device, similar to a hearing aid, which plays masking sounds into the listener’s ear. Other treatments include Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), relaxation therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and vitamin/nutrient therapy. Also, avoidance of loud noises, salt, caffeine, and nicotine may help to reduce tinnitus.