Tinnitus comes in many forms. To those who aren’t suffering, it can be difficult to describe. They just can’t understand how a “little” sound could disrupt your life.But for you, it’s a daily or minute to minute struggle to think, rest, and/or hear. Over 30 million Americans suffer from Tinnitus. 40% of those affected deal with symptoms for as much as 80% of their waking hours. 1 in 5 of these report tinnitus so extreme that it prevents them from normal function. There’s lots of misinformation out there. But you need the truth. Let’s explore 5 myths that could keep you from finding a way to alleviate tinnitus.
1. Tinnitus Will Go Away On Its OwnIf you’ve just exposed yourself to a continual loud sound like a concert or a sudden loud sound like a gunshot, you can have temporary tinnitus. In these cases, it goes away in 10 or 15 minutes. But people with chronic tinnitus experience episodes either consistently or intermittently (on and off). You could have:
- Mild tinnitus – You can’t hear the tinnitus when there’s another noise.
- High-pitched tinnitus – You hear a whistle, hiss or buzz, commonly when you lie down, sit, or tilt your head.
- Low-pitched tinnitus – You hear a low rumble.
- Enjoy life
2. Pills Can Cure TinnitusThere’s very limited proof that any pill can cure tinnitus. Beware of ads for vitamins or supplements that suggest that they can cure it.
3. Tinnitus Has Nothing to Do with Hearing LossTinnitus is often linked to hearing loss. Tinnitus is believed to be the result of prolonged or frequent exposure to loud sounds. Your middle and inner ear are composed of very delicate bones, membranes and hair cells that vibrate in response to sounds. Anything fragile that you shake too much will become damaged. It’s no different for your ear. This damage causes tinnitus and hearing loss. The hair cells die and can’t be replaced.
4. You’re Not Damaging Your EarsSound is measured in decibels. Sounds below 75 are considered safe — even with prolonged or repeated exposure. Sounds over 85 can cause damage over time. Sounds over 140 can cause immediate damage. But in each case, it all depends on how close you are to the noise source. For reference, if you’re right next to it, the hum of a refrigerator is around 40 decibels. A normal conversation could be around 60. But you may be surprised at how much in your environment is over 75 decibels:
- Heavy traffic = 85
- Motorcycles = 95
- Sirens = 120
- Music on headphones at max volume = 105
- Guns & Firecrackers = 140 – 190
5. You Can’t Alleviate TinnitusThere’s no magic pill. But there are effective treatments for tinnitus. Hearing aids can effectively alleviate tinnitus even if you don’t have hearing loss. They work in several ways:
- They can amplify a quiet environment so that you can’t hear the tinnitus.
- They can regulate the loudness of environmental sounds to improve the ability to hear with tinnitus.
- They can emit a soothing tone that counteracts the tinnitus.