The Truth About Tinnitus

What it is, What it's not
Last update on Aug, 16, 2018

About 30 million people experience tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association — making it likely that it affects you or someone you know. Yet, as common as it is, tinnitus is widely misunderstood.

Myth: People who have tinnitus hear ringing in their ears.

Fact:

Although tinnitus is commonly known as “ringing in the ears,” people with tinnitus hear a wide range of other sounds, such as humming, buzzing, roaring, clicking, whistling, hissing, static, screeching, cricket-like chirps, pulsing, ocean waves, dial tones and even music.

Myth: Tinnitus is an imaginary condition.

Fact:

The perceived sound associated with tinnitus has no external source. However, the sound is very real to the person experiencing it. In a small number of cases, the noise is audible to other people, and it actually can be recorded using a very sensitive microphone.

Myth: Tinnitus is no big deal.

Fact:

In its milder form, tinnitus may have little impact on a person’s life. For others, tinnitus may be severe enough that it causes fatigue, stress, sleeping problems, lack of concentration, memory issues, anxiety, irritability and even depression. At its worst, tinnitus can interfere with work, social situations and other basic life functions.

Myth: Nothing can be done about tinnitus.

Fact:

For most people, there is no cure for tinnitus. Fortunately, tinnitus treatments have advanced significantly in recent years and may include various types of therapy, counseling and/or tinnitus masking devices. The good news is, many individuals with tinnitus can lead happy, productive lives.

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