Tinnitus Myths That Don’t Ring True

Image of woman, possibly with tinnitus.Although tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is a common problem experienced by one in five people, there are many misconceptions about the issue and its treatment.

Audiology & Hearing Aid Center in Scottsdale, Arizona hopes to clear up the many myths surrounding tinnitus, which is a symptom of another condition such as age- or noise-related hearing loss, injury to the ear or a circulatory system disorder.

Here are some common misconceptions (and truths) about tinnitus:

  1. It means hearing loss is imminent: Because the perceived ringing or buzzing in the ears can make it difficult to hear other sounds, tinnitus is considered a form of hearing loss. However, this doesn’t mean it leads to hearing loss – although it may be a warning sign of problems.
  2. It’s a disease: Tinnitus isn’t actually a condition or a disease at all – it’s simply a symptom of another condition. Possible conditions causing the noise include excessive noise exposure, diabetes, high blood pressure or even depression.
  3. Diet causes tinnitus: Although some people may find that preservatives, caffeine or other substances in one’s diet worsen tinnitus, there is not scientific evidence suggesting it’s directly tied to it. Nicotine can make it worse because smoking can narrow the blood vessels in the ear, creating an increase in perceived noise.
  4. I don’t hear ringing, so it’s not tinnitus: Although ringing is the most common sound associated with tinnitus, it can also sound like static, buzzing, humming, or whirring, such as a blender noise.
  5. It’s impossible to know the cause: Although the exact cause of your tinnitus may be difficult to determine, audiologists are sometimes able to figure out simple explanations. It could be a buildup of earwax, for example. Excessive wax build-up can be effectively and safely removed by a health care professional.
  6. Hearing aids can’t improve it: Modern hearing devices not only treat hearing loss – they can also minimize the impact of tinnitus. Some hearing aids play a sound that eventually cause you to not notice tinnitus, while they can also make it easier to hear conversation, the TV and other sounds over the ringing in your ears.

Depending on its severity, tinnitus can be a significant inconvenience. If you have tinnitus, contact us online or at one of our three Scottsdale locations.