Diagnose and Understand Your Tinnitus
- DO NOT panic! Tinnitus is usually not a sign of a serious, ongoing medical condition. The exact cause of tinnitus is often unknown, but one thing is for sure, tinnitus is not imaginary!
- SEE an Audiologist or Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist interested and experienced in tinnitus management. Tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying problem. Tinnitus can be associated with a number of hearing-related conditions so you should receive a full hearing evaluation by an Audiologist who can provide information on the possible cause(s) and management options. Please note a “treatment” that is useful and successful for one person may not be appropriate for another.
- REVIEW your current medications (prescriptions, over-the-counter, vitamins, and other supplements) with your medical professional as ringing in the ears is a side effect for many medications.
- BE WARY of a hopeless diagnosis or physician advice such as “There is nothing you can do about your tinnitus. You have to live with it.” The most effective treatment for tinnitus is to eliminate the underlying cause. Unfortunately, in many cases, the cause of tinnitus cannot be identified, and/or medical/surgical treatment is not an option. In these cases, tinnitus can still be managed using a variety of other methods. Ask your Audiologist about these methods.
Find Effective Treatment and Take Care of Yourself
- BE KIND to yourself. Developing tinnitus means you have undergone a significant physical, emotional, and maybe even lifestyle change.
- EXAMINE your lifestyle to see if any stress can be reduced or eliminated; stress oftentimes makes tinnitus worse.
- PAY ATTENTION to triggers including salt, artificial sweeteners, sugar, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or medications (DO NOT STOP TAKING MEDICATIONS WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL FIRST). One-by-one, eliminate possible sources of tinnitus aggravation.
- PROTECT YOURSELF from further auditory damage by avoiding loud environments and using ear protection when they can’t be avoided.
You’re Attitude Matters
- DO NOT create negative forecasts for your tinnitus, i.e. “This is never going to get any better.” Counting on a better future can help you create one. In many cases people with tinnitus “adjust” to it, meaning they get used to it and notice it less.
- DO NOT blame yourself for the tinnitus. The causes of tinnitus vary and may be difficult to determine.
Line Up Support
- FIND SUPPORT groups that will truly understand your struggles with tinnitus and help you sort out useful from useless information. Your Audiologist can connect you to a self-help group in your area where you can find companionship and coping strategies. For additional information or help finding a group near you, contact the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) http://www.ata.org/.
- CONTINUE SEEKING reliable information from credible sources.