Is there a persistent ringing in your ears? If it’s been there for more than a week, then the chances are you have tinnitus. Don’t worry; this is a common hearing issue that affects most people at some point in life. Visit your audiologist to get the problem checked out, and they’ll tell you what needs to be done next.

If you’d like to understand the issue in more detail, then we suggest asking your audiologist these questions about tinnitus:

What is tinnitus?

Ask your audiologist to explain the issue in more detail. Tinnitus is a condition that makes you hear sounds that aren’t present. But there is more than one type of tinnitus; subjective and objective. Your audiologist can explain the differences between the two and tell you which one you have. It’s a lot easier to deal with a problem when you understand what’s going on!

What can cause tinnitus?

Similarly, it helps to know what causes tinnitus. The list of things is long, but your audiologist should have a good idea for what caused yours. During your examination, they may see you have underlying issues in your ears that cause the tinnitus. A common cause is impacted by earwax, while another is hearing loss. Or, if you explain that you work in a noisy environment, then this indicates that exposure to loud noises could be the cause. 

Is tinnitus permanent?

The answer to this is both yes and no. With the examples above, tinnitus may be temporary. For instance, if earwax is the cause, then removing the wax can cure the tinnitus. Likewise, if loud noises cause tinnitus, then protecting your ears from them can help it go away. 

On the other hand, it may be permanent if it’s caused by hearing loss. If that’s the case for you, then you may be stuck with it for life. Your audiologist will tell you if your tinnitus will go away or not when they examine you. 

Can tinnitus be treated?

 Clearly, you want to know if there are treatments available. The good news is that there most certainly are various things that can be done to treat this condition. Sound machines are often recommended to help manage tinnitus by masking the ringing sound that you hear all the time. Hearing aids are also a popular treatment option, particularly for people with hearing loss. There’s also the option of cognitive behavioral therapy as well. 

When your tinnitus is permanent, these treatments mainly serves to distract you from the symptoms. It never truly leaves, but you grow to take no notice of it. With temporary tinnitus, the treatments revolve around the cause. If you can remove the cause from the equation, then the tinnitus should gradually fade away. 

Tinnitus doesn’t cause any physical harm, but it can be mentally damaging when left untreated. As such, we strongly suggest seeing your audiologist if you notice the telltale signs of this condition. The most common thing to look out for is a persistent ringing, buzzing or clicking sound that no one else can hear. If this lasts for longer than a week, then book an appointment with your audiologist as soon as possible.