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Putting Five Common Tinnitus Myths to Rest

For tens of millions of tinnitus sufferers, daily activity can be a challenge. Finding help can be frustrating. And the confusion surrounding the condition can lead to feelings of anxiety and hopelessness.

Tinnitus is often described as buzzing, ringing, hissing, humming, roaring noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, causes of tinnitus, hearing aidsor whistling that someone hears in the absence of any external sound. More than 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from the condition, according to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA).

“Some of the myths surrounding tinnitus can hinder sufferers’ attempts to get better,” said Curtis Amann, vice president of marketing and sales for Neuromonics, Inc. “Separating fact from fiction is an important step for any tinnitus sufferer.”

Here, Amann lists five common tinnitus myths, and insight into the real facts behind the myths.

  1. Tinnitus only affects people who’ve gone to lots of concerts and listened to loud music. While it is true that prolonged exposure to loud noises (music or other) can be one cause of tinnitus, the reality is that tinnitus has many causes – and many people develop tinnitus for no clear reason. People of any gender, age, race, background or profession can suffer from the condition. At the same time, research shows that common elements exist in all tinnitus sufferers. The key to success with treatment is choosing one that effectively addresses these commonalities.                                                                                         
  2. Tinnitus will probably just go away on its own. Many people are afraid or embarrassed to mention the sounds to friends, family or associates – let alone seek help. They hope that the ringing will disappear. While tinnitus caused by a medication or other temporary situation may cease if that element is removed, the reality is that tinnitus does not just “go away” for most people. The sooner a sufferer seeks help from a trained audiologist, the better – and sooner – the chances for significant improvement.
  3. Tinnitus is an incurable disease. Tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition that can result from a wide range of causes that include everything from exposure to loud noises and certain medication use to underlying neurological damage. While tinnitus itself is not a disease, untreated, it can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. The good news? Tinnitus is one condition that people often can manage with effective treatment.
  4. Tinnitus can be cured by cutting out certain foods or other items from the diet. Over time, different foods and additives have received the blame for tinnitus. Research has proven this to be false. Eating a balanced, healthy diet, and getting plenty of exercise, can play important roles in the management of tinnitus. But they can’t “fix” tinnitus on their own.
  5. There is no real help for tinnitus. This is the greatest myth of all, according to Amann. More research has lead to more and better treatments for tinnitus. Professional audiologists who specialize in tinnitus can help individuals determine whether or not they have tinnitus, and if the tinnitus is mild, moderate or severe. They can then advise on the best treatments. Some now-available treatments are customized to each patient’s unique hearing profile, and target the underlying auditory, attentional and emotional processes underlying the tinnitus.

“Never before has it been so important to debunk common myths, and separate fact from fiction in the tinnitus world," said Amann.

Taken from http://www.neuromonics.com/?page_id=1261. 

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