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Do you have ringing in your ears?

Tinnitus affects more than 50 million Americans to various degrees. At least 12 million of those suffer enough to seek medical attention. Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external sound is present. Often described as a ringing, hissing, or whistling sound that ranges in intensity from very mild to severe. Many patients with these conditions experience anxiety, lack of concentration and loss of sleep. Some may feel hopeless. They worry that they may have a life threatening condition or wonder if the sound is real or in their imagination. Since the condition is fairly common, many tinnitus sufferers wonder why it seems to bother them much more than it does others.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus, pronounced TIN-ah-tus or tih-NIGHT-us, is the perception of sound in one or both ears when no external sound is present. Often described as a ringing, hissing, or whistling sound that ranges in intensity from very mild to severe. Some people with tinnitus also experience a condition called hyperacusis, which is a low tolerance for sound.

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What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. There are various conditions (almost always benign) that can trigger tinnitus such as aging, medications, jaw alignment(TMJ), earwax, noise-induced hearing loss, and other medical conditions. However, discovering that you have tinnitus does not automatically mean that you have a medical condition.

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What should I do if I suspect I have tinnitus?

The first step towards relief, is to schedule an evaluation with an audiologist specializing in appropriate tinnitus treatment and therapy programs. After a complete hearing examination, you may be referred for a medical examination by an ear, nose, and throat physician (ENT). The physician will determine if you need some form of medical treatment. If it is determined that sound therapy should be pursued, your audiologist will fit you with sound generator devices. These are usually small, ear-worn devices that generate soft, soothing sounds similar to a bathroom shower or to gently falling rain.

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How do tinnitus treatment products work?

Imagine a candle in the middle of a pitch-black room. Although it's a tiny flame, all your attention is focused on it. But as you gradually turn up the light in the room, the contrast between the candlelight and the surrounding light is barely noticeable. That's the same theory we use to treat tinnitus. In effect, sound is introduced to lessen the contrast between the tinnitus and quiet surroundings.

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What are sound generators?

Sound generators are ear worn devices that are used in tinnitus and hyperacusis management programs using sound therapy. The devices produce a soft, soothing gentle noise similar to the sound from a showerhead, fountain or a gently falling rain. The noise helps reduce the perceived “loudness” of the tinnitus. With the loudness of the tinnitus reduced, the tinnitus becomes less annoying and more manageable. In hyperacusis treatment, the noise is used to “de-sensitize” the central auditory system.

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