Tinnitus

Annoying, perceived sound disables millions.

According to the American Tinnitus Association, tinnitus impacts up to 50 million people in the United States. Approximately 25% of the population of industrialized countries have experienced tinnitus at least once, and 10 to 20% suffer chronically. Tinnitus is the number one disability among veterans and it affects at least one in every 10 American adults.

What is tinnitus?

The term tinnitus comes from the Latin word tinnire(to ring). Doctors define tinnitus as the perception of sounds for which there is no external source. Many people describe tinnitus as ear ringing, while to others it sounds like humming, buzzing, or whistling. Regardless of its characteristics, tinnitus is a symptom of an impairment of the auditory processing system.

What causes ringing in the ears?

The exact mechanism that causes buzzing or ringing in ears for some people has yet to be discovered. The best known contributing factor to tinnitus is noise exposure, especially to sounds reaching 85 decibels or higher. A single gunshot crack can leave some people with permanent tinnitus, as can repeated exposure to loud rock music over time. Taking certain medications known to cause damage to the delicate components of the inner ear may also be a factor.

Some hearing aids provide tinnitus therapy.

While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, there are effective methods of achieving comfort and relief. Some of our hearing aids—Ace™Pure®Carat™, Aquaris™, Nitro®Insio™ , Orion™ , and Siemens Life™—have a tinnitus therapy feature which can function as an independent sound generator or in a mixed mode with both the hearing aid’s microphone and the sound generator. Your hearing care professional can help you determine the type of therapy that is right for your tinnitus.