Your Tinnitus Specialists in Northern Utah

Have you ever experienced a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears after a major sporting event, a loud concert, a night in the club, or after discharging a firearm without ear protection? The sound you’re experiencing is known as tinnitus.

Testing for tinnitus at Utah Ear Institute
Ringing in the ear

Statistics show that tinnitus affects about 75% of Americans in some form. Although most experience only temporary tinnitus, which only lingers for a few minutes or hours, some are subjected to a constant ringing 24/7, making it difficult to concentrate while working or studying, trying to relax, or attempting to get a good night’s sleep.

If you are among those hampered by the ongoing neurological disorder known as tinnitus, then you might be at your wit’s end searching for a tinnitus specialist near you and a solution to the constant ringing in your ears.

You’ve come to the right place. Each of the Utah Ear Institute hearing and balance centers in Bountiful, Tooele, Park City, and West Valley City include a tinnitus specialist who understands your struggle with tinnitus and is eager to provide the solutions you’re hoping to find.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tinnitus

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a symptom of a neurological condition that causes the perception of sounds within the auditory pathway that are not actually there, similar to “phantom limb” experienced by amputees.

What causes tinnitus?

No specific cause of tinnitus has ever been established. Since it is a symptom rather than a disease, it can come from damage to the inner ear (usually associated with hearing loss), a middle ear infection or buildup of fluid in the middle ear, Meniere’s disease, or earwax buildup, but it can also be linked to ototoxic drugs and medications, high blood pressure, hyper/hypothyroidism, diabetes, and acoustic neuromas.

Are there different types of tinnitus?

There are two main types: subjective tinnitus, where the sounds can only be heard by you, and objective tinnitus, where the sounds can also be heard by your doctor when using a stethoscope or other listening device.

I thought tinnitus was only a ringing sound in the ears?

For some, tinnitus is a ringing sound, but others might experience buzzing, humming, crickets, clicking, or similar sounds. These sounds can be a steady sound or pulsatile.

Can tinnitus just affect one ear?

Some people hear sounds in only one ear, some in both ears, and some perceive it as a sound within their head rather than coming from the ears. When tinnitus is in both ears, it may not be the same volume or even the same type of sound in each ear.

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

Since there is no definitive cause for tinnitus, there is no "magic cure." However, if your tinnitus is caused by an underlying medical condition, injury, or drug reaction, addressing the underlying cause may also stop your tinnitus.

Can my tinnitus be improved?

More than 80% of people are able to see improvement to their tinnitus symptoms, thanks to various tinnitus management solutions.

Can a hearing aid help my tinnitus?

Although tinnitus does not cause hearing loss, many people who have tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss. Those who use hearing aids often find relief for their tinnitus due to the masking effect that occurs as your hearing aid amplifies other natural sounds around you or from tinnitus masking applications that come with various hearing aid models.

Will a special diet make my tinnitus disappear?

While certain additives and foodstuffs, such as alcohol, salt, and caffeine, can exacerbate tinnitus, they are not the root cause. Tinnitus management strategies may include making changes to your diet and/or lifestyle, but they will not be enough to alleviate tinnitus on their own.

Is there anything I can do to prevent or minimize tinnitus?

You can do a number of things to prevent or minimize tinnitus, such as:

  • Reduce exposure to extremely loud noise with ear protection
  • Avoid total silence
  • Decrease salt intake
  • Monitor your blood pressure
  • Avoid stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine
  • Exercise
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Manage stress

What Our Delighted Patients Say

How Utah Ear Institute Can Stop the Ringing in Your Ears

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. Since it may be symptomatic of another disorder, it is necessary for your audiologist to test for and rule out possible causes before deciding on treatment, which could include one or several approaches, such as:

In some cases, medications or the medication combinations you are using to treat other conditions can cause tinnitus and changing to a different formula can help alleviate symptoms. Some who experience tinnitus benefit from the help of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications as well as lipoflavonoids, which require additional research in order to further evaluate its effectiveness.

This form of therapy involves the use of an externally produced sound to mask, inhibit, or alter the production of tinnitus sounds. Six common methods of acoustic stimulation include:

  • A sound generator or tinnitus masker, which is an ear-level electronic device housed in a hearing aid case that produces white noise.
  • A tinnitus instrument, which is a combination hearing aid and sound generator.
  • Hearing aids, which amplify sounds and stimulate areas of the ear and brain that may not be receiving adequate stimulation because of hearing loss.
  • A tabletop or portable sound generator.
  • In-home masking, such as the use of an electric fan, radios, or television.
  • Music therapy.
Some consider masking noise as substituting one annoying sound with another. Those annoyed by white noise and other masking sounds often prefer music therapy. Classical passages that don’t contain wide variations in loudness can soothe the limbic system (the emotional processor in the brain that is commonly negatively linked to a patient’s reaction to tinnitus) and stimulate the auditory cortex.

One of the most successful forms of tinnitus management, TRT, involves directive counseling and low-level sound masking. The objective is to help the brain relearn a pattern that will de-emphasize the importance of the tinnitus sounds, which is particularly helpful in desensitizing patients who are overly sensitive to sound.

Directive counseling provides intensive, individualized education regarding the causes and effects of tinnitus on the ear, the brain, and the coping mechanism. Because stress plays a significant role in the aggravation of tinnitus symptoms, stress management can help combat the stress, anxiety, and sleep disturbances associated with tinnitus. Coping methods may include relaxation, guided imagery, and self-hypnosis.

Adding the combination of low-level masking produces broadband noise via hearing aid type devices to soften the intensity without completely blocking out the noise of tinnitus in order to help facilitate auditory habituation.

The use of hearing aids and hearing aids with maskers are often effective ways to minimize tinnitus for those with a hearing loss. Masking is achieved by amplifying background sounds, which reduces the contrast between tinnitus sounds and silence, altering the production of tinnitus, or by adding low-level acoustic therapy.

Schedule a Tinnitus Assessment

If you or a loved one is experiencing the ringing, buzzing, or humming sounds of tinnitus on a frequent or ongoing basis, the first step to finding relief is to schedule a tinnitus assessment with one of our tinnitus specialists at Utah Ear Institute.

Get the help you need in order to take your life back from the ongoing frustration caused by tinnitus by submitting the adjacent form to schedule a tinnitus assessment.

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