Ringing in the ears or tinnitus is the perception of a sound (i.e. – ringing, high-pitched whining, buzzing, whistling or hissing) that does not have a corresponding external source. Although tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, neurological injury, earwax buildup, withdrawal from certain drugs or ear infections, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss. A doctor, ENT specialist or audiologist is needed to rule out potential medical or physical sources that may be causing the sounds a patient perceives.
Since it is a subjective irregularity, tinnitus can be difficult to measure using an objective hearing assessment. For some people, the ringing in their ears is infrequent or only produces a faint background noise. For others the condition causes a constant noise that can be so intense that the sensation can still be heard over a very loud external sound. However, many patients who suffer from the annoying condition understand all too well how debilitating tinnitus can be.
The pressing need for relief of benign conditions has led medical researchers to look for better ways to manage the otologic condition rather than cure it. As there is a high correlation between tinnitus and hearing loss, major manufacturers of assistive listening devices, such as Starkey®, have developed a tinnitus solution (Xino Tinnitus) that also functions as a high-end hearing aid, or can be configured for use as either. The state-of-the-art device features 16 adjustable frequency bands that allow the hearing specialist to create a preferred sound therapy stimulus for each patient. Additionally, the Xino Tinnitus hearing aids feature both binaural and monaural controls.
Patients use a BTE (behind the ear) hearing aid with a mini receiver-in-canal (RIC) to personalize their sound therapy stimulus independently of the amplification needed for volume control. Within a selected frequency, a hearing specialist can adjust the spectrum of noise from broadband to narrowband to tailor the results for each patient. If you sufferer from ringing in the ears, contact St. Augustine ENT to determine if you are a good candidate for a tinnitus hearing aid.