Check Your Health: Ringing in the ears or tinnitus

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Check Your Health: Ringing in the ears or tinnitus (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Over 50-million Americans suffer from occasional ringing in the ears. This condition is called tinnitus and for most of these people, comes and goes. However, for 20-million tinnitus patients, it’s a chronic problem that can be debilitating. This was the case foe Amie Moyes.

“I could not hear anything except the ringing,” says Amie.

At the end of last year, a cold triggered ringing in Amie’s ears. As he cold cleared up, so did the tinnitus; but then, a month later, it came back.

“I was scared because I was afraid that this was going to be my new normal of living with this ringing in my hears all the time,” says Amie.

Many people with tinnitus describe the ringing as a clicking, buzzing, or ocean type sound; for Amie it was like a rumbling truck going by.

“It can be very bothersome and extremely debilitating for some people,” says Stephen Jones, doctor of audiology with Intermountain Medical Center.

As a mother of five-year-old twins, Amie needed answers. She went to an audiologist and discovered that tinnitus is actually a symptom of an underlying cause. Things such noise exposure, change in pressure, and illness can trigger the ringing. However, the most common cause is hearing loss.

“If they have hearing loss, you can be fit with hearing aids. Hearing aids help with both the hearing loss and the tinnitus,” says Jones.

Amie says she didn’t realize how much hearing loss she had until she got hearing aids. It took some time for her brain to adjust to the hearing aids and all of the noise, but about a month later she was feeling much better.

“I was me again. I was back to my old life, and I could function and I could be the mom I want to be and it wasn’t taking over anymore,” says Amie.

For some people, tinnitus is most noticeable in the evening when they are trying to fall asleep because it’s too quiet. One strategy to help with this is to use a fan or radio to create some white noise.

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