How often has the possibility of dealing with tinnitus ever entered your mind? If you’re like many, your answer will probably be, “Not much.” But as today’s fact shows, tinnitus is a hearing condition we should be aware of as we age.
Tinnitus is a continuous ringing or other noise (buzzing, roaring, humming, etc.) you hear even though no outside noise is present.
Particularly widespread in older adults, this irritating condition is commonly caused by age-related hearing loss (also known as presbycusis), noise exposure, medications, earwax or an ear infection, or head or neck injuries, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Currently there is no cure for tinnitus, however, there is treatment available that can lessen symptoms, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
But first, let’s discuss the study that inspired today’s hearing fact.
Study tracked prevalence of tinnitus cases
The discovery of frequent tinnitus among aging adults began with a National Health and Nutrition Examination (a nationally representative database) through which 50 million US adults reported having tinnitus, according to the American Journal of Medicine.
From this database, researchers studying the prevalence (and characteristics) of tinnitus examined 14,178 participants.
What they found: The regularity of frequent tinnitus cases “increased as age increased, peaking...between 60 and 69 years of age,” states the Journal.
So, knowing that the frequency of tinnitus can worsen as we age, what can we do right now to be proactive about tinnitus?
Protect your hearing
As one of the leading causes of tinnitus, noise exposure is something to stay aware of and protect against, every chance you get. Loud noise can come from anywhere—your job, concerts and sporting events, power tools, and even your earbuds.
Watch this bite-size video for ways you can protect your hearing.
You can also monitor noise levels wherever you are—right from your smartphone—using the simple SoundCheck Live app.
Maintain your hearing health
It’s wise to keep up with your hearing health as you grow older—which means getting your hearing tested by a licensed hearing care professional every three years once you’re 50.
Hearing evaluations are simple, pain-free, and the best way to catch tinnitus early and maintain your hearing. (And all the benefits that go with it.)
Consider hearing aids to treat tinnitus
If it turns out you have tinnitus caused by age-related or noise-induced hearing loss, wearing hearing aids can be a big help with improving your symptoms.
Clinical evidence has shown that the amplification power of hearing aids can assist us in becoming less cognizant of tinnitus and more focused on the sounds actually present, including voices.
And the benefits don’t end there.
According to Doctor of Audiology Jamie Hand, the ability to hear environmental sounds through hearing aids can also help mask tinnitus sounds, reduce stress and listening fatigue (known to contribute to worsening tinnitus), and increase engagement with loved ones, which may help divert our attention away from tinnitus symptoms.
(Learn more from Dr. Hand here.)
Moreover, the latest hearing aids feature built-in tinnitus technology that can help soothe those annoying sounds and more.
Reach out to a hearing care professional today
A hearing care professional is your best resource for evaluating your hearing, explaining all the benefits of hearing aids, and finding the best tinnitus treatment option for you. If you don’t have one yet, simply type your zip code in here and you’ll find a list of providers near you.
Having the tools to alleviate tinnitus and maintain our best hearing? Now that has a nice ring to it.