Audiology for ringing in ears

Ringing in the Ears: New Guidelines from AAO-HNS

Whether it started with that rock concert that got a little too loud or the excruciating pop in the wood shop years ago, many of us have persistent ringing in the ears from time to time.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus, or the perception of sound without an external source. Experts say it’s the most common service-related disability among U.S. military veterans. Yet many people remain unsure what can be done about it.

The nation’s largest group of ear, nose and throat specialists, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, has come out with new guidelines for treating the condition, based on the latest research.

The group says many cases are minor or go away on their own, but about 20 percent of patients need some type of medical intervention.

A good place to begin is a targeted history and physical exam, which you can do with the specialists at the ENT Center of Utah. This may include a hearing test when it is appropriate. Patients who also suffer from hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid evaluation.Most patients will learn that there are plenty of methods to handle the annoying condition.

The Academy recommends against routine scans and MRIs to diagnose the condition the guidelines discourage the use of medications such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Some tinnitus sufferers have found relief from natural supplements but the panel also recommended against dietary supplements such as Ginkgo biloba, melatonin and zinc, or the use of a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, which involves the use of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

The guidelines are neutral on the effects of acupuncture for treating tinnitus, neither recommending nor warning against this popular form of alternative medicine.

While it falls short of a cure, doctors say patients with persistent, bothersome tinnitus may benefit from learning about strategies for managing their condition, and from cognitive behavioral therapy to help them cope.

Man with hearing loss

Prevent Hearing Loss

It’s easy to assume that hearing loss applies to everyone beside yourself. You may look at your grandparents and notice signs of deafness and figure, “That’s not me. I’m young and my ears are healthy.”

You may look at construction workers who use loud equipment without using ear protection and assume, “I’m safe, I work at a desk.”

You may constantly have music playing in your ears on an iPhone, iPod or cell phone and assume your hearing is safe because you tell yourself, “I never listen to music too loudly on my ear buds.”

The truth is, we’re all at risk of hearing loss if we don’t protect our ears and hearing. In fact, one in 10 Americans suffer from hearing loss. That’s because there are so many causes of hearing loss.

Read: 8 Signs You Suffer From Hearing Loss

The House of Hearing logoThe good news is that you can avoid hearing loss by following these 5 easy tips from the experts at The House of Hearing. If you didn’t know already, the House of Hearing is our sister company that features a staff of hearing experts who can diagnose and treat hearing problems.

VISIT: The House of Hearing

1. Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Loud Noises

A loud noise is a loud noise, whether it’s the pounding of a jackhammer or drums, the wailing of an electric guitar or listening to music on headphones. The longer you listen without giving your ears a break from the noise, the greater the chance for damage. Take our advice and limit the amount of time you expose yourself to loud noises.

2. Use Earplugs or Earmuffs when Exposed to Loud Noises

There is nothing macho or smart about performing loud work without using earplugs or earmuffs. Mowing the lawn, working in an industrial plant, lighting fireworks, shooting guns or playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band are all activities where it makes good sense to use earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are inexpensive and fit within your ear to reduce noise. Earmuffs are often more expensive and surround your entire ear. However, they are often most effective at reducing noise. Try both to see which works best for your needs.

3. Turn the Volume Down

At the risk of sounding like a parent who always implored you to “turn down that music,” there was a great deal of wisdom in that request. Louder simply isn’t better. In fact, music often sounds distorted when it becomes too loud and actually sounds superior at lower levels that don’t harm your ears. Lower the volume on your TV, stereo, iPhone. Your ears will thank you now—and in the future.

4. Use Noise-Reducing Headphones

You’ve probably seen people on airplanes with Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. Frequent flyers know why these headphones are so popular: it’s because noise-reducing headphones work really well to reduce ambient noise. For instance, by reducing the constant rumble during a flight, you can listen to music on your headphones at a lower and more comfortable volume. The same applies for mowing the lawn or using power tools. You can listen to music with loud noise all around you without having to push the volume to ear-shattering levels. Noice-cancelling headphones may seem expensive but may turn out to be invaluable in helping protect your ears from hearing loss.

5. Get Regular Hearing Checkups

If you notice your hearing changing, see an audiologist. You may notice it’s more difficult to hear phone calls or that people around you regularly ask you to turn down the music or TV. Take care of your ears with good practices and regular hearing checkups from an audiologist and your ears will take good care of you throughout your life.

Set an Appointment with a House of Hearing Audiologist

Our professional audiologists treat people daily in Salt Lake City, Draper, Park City and other parts of Utah for hearing loss. We can pinpoint signs of deafness and help prevent hearing loss. Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-657-4175 to set an appointment today. Or schedule your hearing appointment online.