Tinnitus Troubles Ring True for Millions Across Florida
Tinnitus affects an estimated 50 million Americans and nearly half of all Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, yet audiologists are just beginning to understand this complicated symptom. Often described as a ringing in the ears, tinnitus can also manifest as other sounds like sizzling, buzzing, clicking, whistling or chirping.
In over 99% of cases, tinnitus is subjective, meaning only the person experiencing the symptom can hear it. It’s often impossible to identify the direct cause of a patient’s tinnitus. Many times, though, people suffering from this affliction have a history of loud noise exposure.
As audiologists learn more about why tinnitus develops and how it affects the brain, treatments are becoming more effective and refined. Several recent and ongoing studies are seeking to find the answer to this audiological problem, which is gaining increasing attention throughout the medical community.
Tinnitus is a widespread and serious health concern. Nearly a million veterans suffer from this symptom, making it the leading service-related disability in America. This problem isn’t specific to veterans, either: 20 million people nationwide experience “burdensome” tinnitus, while two million more describe their condition as “severe or debilitating.”
Despite these staggering numbers, audiologists are optimistic when it comes to developing safe and effective tinnitus treatment options. The most promising treatments available today are tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) and sound therapy. Both TRT and sound therapy seek to teach patients how to reduce their perception of the ringing sound while also retraining the brain to ignore sounds at problematic frequencies. As more research continues to take place, studies on both of these treatment therapies have revealed truly impressive results.
Audiologists are hard at work to provide patients with the best tinnitus treatments available. In order to do this, an audiologist first must assess patients’ hearing and identify the frequencies at which tinnitus is present. Armed with this information, an experienced audiologist can recommend the right therapy plan for the patients’ needs and lifestyle. Seeking treatment early is vital for anyone suffering from tinnitus, as this condition can worsen—and potentially induce hearing loss—over time.
Finding a knowledgeable audiologist who specializes in tinnitus evaluation and treatment is key for anyone suffering from tinnitus symptoms, whether they’re mild or severe. Dr. Andrea Livingston is one of Highlands County’s top audiologists and is considered an expert in tinnitus management. She offers cutting-edge treatment options including TRT and sound therapy at Central Florida Hearing Services in Sebring, FL.