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West Shore ENT & Allergy

Otolaryngology & Allergy Specialists located in Norton Shores, Muskegon, Grand Haven, Fremont, & Ludington, MI

Tinnitus — ringing in your ears — is a common problem that affects 10-15% of adults. You might be able to tune out the sound, but in many cases, tinnitus affects your ability to hear, sleep, and have a conversation. The experienced doctors at West Shore ENT & Allergy evaluate your tinnitus and develop an individualized treatment to relieve it. Call one of the offices in Norton Shores, Grand Haven, Fremont, Ludington, and Muskegon, Michigan, or use the online booking feature to schedule your visit today.

Tinnitus Q & A

What is tinnitus?

People with tinnitus hear a sound or noise even though there’s nothing causing the sound. Tinnitus takes the form of phantom noises like:

  • Ringing
  • Roaring
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Whistling
  • Hissing

The sound can be constant or it can come and go, and it can be heard in one or both ears. The sound could be loud enough to interfere with hearing or talking.

What causes tinnitus?

Sometimes the cause of a patient’s tinnitus can’t be found. However, it’s often due to an underlying problem like:

  • Nerve conditions
  • Wax build-up
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Medications
  • Pressure on your eardrum
  • Ear-structure abnormalities
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction

Exposure to loud sounds, including heavy equipment and frequently listening to blaring music, commonly causes tinnitus. Long-term exposure to loud sounds also results in more serious problems than tinnitus: It can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Conditions like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, Meniere’s disease, and a benign ear tumor can cause tinnitus. Some patients have muscle spasms in their inner ear that causes tinnitus and hearing loss.

In rare cases, a blood vessel disorder causes tinnitus. For example, atherosclerosis in blood vessels in your ears and badly formed capillaries can result in ringing in your ears.

How is tinnitus treated?

After learning about the sounds you hear and examining your ears, your doctor at West Shore ENT & Allergy performs hearing and audiology tests to be sure you don’t have a hearing loss. If a cause for your tinnitus is identified, your therapy begins by addressing that problem.

Your tinnitus symptoms could improve with one of the following:

  • Cleaning your ears
  • Symptom-reducing medications
  • Treating vascular problems
  • Using noise suppression

Some patients find that white noise blocks out their tinnitus. You can try using the sound of a fan or getting a white noise machine that simulates environmental sounds. 

Your doctor at West Shore ENT & Allergy can prescribe a masking device that’s worn like a hearing aid and produces white noise.

If you need relief from tinnitus, call West Shore ENT & Allergy or schedule an appointment online today.