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Ringing Or Buzzing In Your Ears?

It could be tinnitus, so don’t ignore it, treat it; a long-time sufferer says solutions are available

JORDAN PYSZ / iFoundMyDoctor.com
Dr. Jickell knows firsthand the importance of not ignoring your tinnitus.

A recently published study based on 50 years of data determined that about 750 million people around the world suffer from some form of tinnitus, a bothersome condition commonly referred to as ringing in the ears. The study further shows that the likelihood of someone experiencing tinnitus increases with age. Dana Jickell, AuD, of Professional Hearing Solutions, can relate. She detected her tinnitus about 15 years ago. Since then, the condition has worsened. “It first presented itself as a mild ringing in my left ear,” Dr. Jickell informs. “It was very faint, very subtle, so I just brushed it off. It was no big deal. But in the last five years, that sound I hear has become quite loud, so loud that I need to keep a fan next to my head at night to sleep.” Tinnitus is not a disease. It is a perception of sound when there’s no external source, and it can manifest in several ways, including hissing, whistling, roaring, pulsing, screeching, buzzing or static noise. Tinnitus can be genetic, but it typically develops as a symptom of an underlying condition that is often triggered by an acoustic trauma to the auditory nerve or the use of certain medications. For a time, Dr. Jickell thought her tinnitus was a result of allergies. “I spent about 25 years working with ear, nose and throat specialists, and with patients presenting with tinnitus,” Dr. Jickell notes. “I often heard doctors ask those patients, Do you have any allergies? I have allergies, so at first, I attributed my tinnitus to that.” No matter the cause, there is no cure for tinnitus. The condition can be managed, however, and Dr. Jickell urges anyone suffering from even a slight case to seek treatment immediately. The last thing tinnitus suffers should do is ignore the problem, she says. “I say that because that’s what I did,” says Dr. Jickell. “For years, I was in denial about my tinnitus. Even as it got worse, I was hesitant to do anything about it. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I finally broke down and got a hearing test.” That hearing test revealed a hearing loss that was accentuating the doctor’s tinnitus. The solution was hearing aids, and the ones Dr. Jickell selected bring in enough ambient sound to drown out the tinnitus. Just in case, though, Dr. Jickell chose a hearing aid that also includes a tinnitus masker. Also known as a tinnitus sound generator, or TSG, the masker is a feature that creates an alternate sound that covers the tinnitus. “Anytime I turn on the TSG, it automatically gives me a sense of relief from my tinnitus,” Dr. Jickell confirms. “It’s a great feature that I highly recommend. “But what I recommend most is not ignoring your tinnitus. I cannot emphasize the importance of that point enough. “Tinnitus is a condition that’s going to do its own thing regardless of what you do. But even if you only have a mild case, if you address it early and get your hearing tested, maybe you won’t have to spend your nights sleeping with a fan next to your head.”

Dana Jickell, AuD

Hearing Aids
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