Trusted Professionals for Tinnitus Treatment in Ontario

Ringing, whirring, chirping or buzzing in your ears are all descriptions of the sounds you might hear if you’re experiencing tinnitus. For most, the sounds are temporary, lasting a few minutes or a few hours, while others experience them 24/7 without cessation.

The Tinnitus Association of Canada estimates that more than 360,000 Canadians experience some form of tinnitus, but for most of these, tinnitus is only on rare and brief occasions at a low intensity. About 150,000 of these people experience severe tinnitus that can be quite disruptive and painful to their lives.

If you are experiencing tinnitus symptoms, you’re probably looking for relief and may be asking the question, “Is there someone who provides tinnitus treatment near me?”

Hometown Hearing Centre has 18+ locations throughout Southern Ontario where we can diagnose and help provide tinnitus relief.

Hearing instrument specialist sitting with tinnitus testing equipment nearby

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is commonly called “ringing in the ears,” but the sound people hear can also be described as screeching, whistling, roaring, buzzing and whirring. However, tinnitus is not a sound you actually hear but a sound that is really not there.

Tinnitus is a symptom of a neurological disorder similar to the phantom limb phenomenon experienced by amputees. It presents itself in two different ways:

  • Objective Tinnitus, which your doctor can hear during a hearing assessment. Although rare, this type of tinnitus can be caused by a blood vessel problem, muscle contractions or a middle ear bone condition.
  • Subjective Tinnitus can only be heard by you. In this more common type of tinnitus, sounds may seem to come from the outer, middle or inner ear. Subjective tinnitus could mean that the auditory nerves that translate sound waves could be injured or damaged.

Causes of Tinnitus

There is no defined cause for tinnitus symptoms. Researchers and hearing care professionals sometimes find damage or problems with the jaw as the cause for tinnitus, but it can also stem from damage to the auditory nerves that send signals from the inner ear to the brain, known as ephaptic transmission, or it can be caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, head and neck tumours and problems with the carotid artery.

However, the most common cause of tinnitus is undiagnosed hearing loss. Because hearing loss limits the auditory stimulation received in the brain, researchers believe that when the brain doesn’t receive sufficient stimulation, it fills the deficit by making up the missing sounds.

Busting Seven Myths about Tinnitus

Myth #1: Tinnitus is a disease

Tinnitus is a symptom that is the result of any number of underlying medical conditions, which might include damaging noise, neurological damage, vascular disease or even traumatic brain injury (TBI). It can also develop as a reaction to certain medications.

Myth #2: I can just change my diet and my tinnitus will go away

It’s true that some additives and foods, such as alcohol, sodium and caffeine, can aggravate tinnitus, but they are not usually the root cause. Although a balanced diet is important to maintain overall health and a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, tinnitus needs to be addressed separately.

Myth #3: Only those with a hearing loss get tinnitus

Although many who are experiencing tinnitus also have a hearing loss, it can also affect individuals without a hearing loss. Exposure to very loud noise, such as a rock concert or an explosion, might lead to temporary ringing in the ears, while certain other medical conditions or use of medications can also cause tinnitus.

Myth #4: People with tinnitus eventually go deaf

Tinnitus and hearing loss often coexist but are separate conditions. The presence of tinnitus symptoms does not mean that you are going deaf or even have a hearing loss, but those with hearing aids often find it easier to manage tinnitus symptoms while improving their hearing.

Myth #5: Hearing aids won’t help with tinnitus

New developments in hearing aid technology address both hearing loss and tinnitus symptoms by increasing the sounds of external noise, which helps to mask the internal sounds of tinnitus. Advancements made in sound therapy that can be delivered directly to your hearing aids from other digital devices help alleviate tinnitus symptoms as well.

Myth #6: There is nothing I can do about tinnitus

You certainly can do something about tinnitus! Research is ongoing, and treatments are constantly evolving and improving. Management techniques that involve lifestyle changes, sound masking devices, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) and hearing aids all help reduce the impact of tinnitus on your quality of life and lifestyle.

Myth #7: Tinnitus is all in your head

This is sort of true because the sounds are only produced in your head, but just because others can’t “see” your tinnitus, doesn’t mean it isn't real. Millions of people worldwide suffer from tinnitus from mildly annoying to debilitating, but there are technologies and techniques available to help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Manage the Ringing in Your Ears at Hometown Hearing

Since tinnitus may be symptomatic of another disorder, it is necessary to rule out possible causes with a hearing assessment before deciding on treatment. Although tinnitus has no definitive cure, there are technologies and techniques to help manage the condition, including:

Some medications or medication combinations you use to treat other conditions can cause tinnitus. Altering your medications or changing the formulation can help alleviate symptoms. In addition, those experiencing tinnitus can benefit from the help of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Acoustic Therapy

Acoustic therapy involves the use of an externally produced sound that is able to mask, inhibit or alter the production of tinnitus sounds or your perception of them. The most common include:

  • Ear level electronic sound generator or tinnitus masker housed in a hearing aid case that produces white noise.
  • A tinnitus instrument is a combination hearing aid and sound generator.
  • Hearing aids to amplify sounds and stimulate areas of the ear and brain that may not be receiving adequate stimulation because of hearing loss.
  • Tabletop or portable sound generators.
  • In-home masking, like an electric fan, radios or television.
  • Music therapy.
Music Therapy
For some, masking noises are just substituting one annoying sound with another. Music therapy, especially classical passages that don’t contain wide variations in loudness can soothe the limbic system (the emotional processor in the brain that is commonly negatively linked to a patient’s reaction) and stimulate the auditory cortex to help reduce the impact of tinnitus sounds.

Auditory Habituation/Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

Among the most successful forms of tinnitus management, TRT combines directive counselling with low level sound masking. The goal of auditory habituation is to teach the brain to de-emphasize the importance of the tinnitus sounds, which is particularly helpful for those who are overly sensitive to sound.

Directive counselling involves intensive, individualized education regarding the cause-and-effect relationship of tinnitus on the ears, the brain and the coping mechanism. Since stress plays a significant role in the aggravation of tinnitus symptoms, stress management involving relaxation, guided imagery and self-hypnosis are among coping methods used to help reduce stress, anxiety and sleep disturbances that often coincide with tinnitus.

Adding low-level masking softens the intensity of your tinnitus without completely blocking out the noise of tinnitus to help facilitate auditory habituation in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Hearing Aids
The use of hearing aids and hearing aids with maskers are often effective ways to minimize tinnitus for those with a hearing loss. Masking is achieved by amplifying background sounds, which reduces the contrast between tinnitus sounds and silence, or by actually altering the production of tinnitus or by adding low-level acoustic therapy.

Schedule a Tinnitus Assessment

In spite of what you may have heard, tinnitus is not an incurable disease without any solution.

With the right combination of management technologies and techniques, our tinnitus professionals at the Hometown Hearing Centre nearest you can help you get control over your tinnitus and reduce its impact on your quality of life and lifestyle.

Contact us to schedule a tinnitus assessment by submitting the adjacent form and a member of our team will call you back to provide assistance.

Don’t want to wait? Call us today. Click here to find your nearest location.

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