Tinnitus ReliefPosted: Updated:
Tinnitus hits more than 50 million people in the United States. It is a constant ringing in the ears that can be so bad, it affects your work and social life. 3TV shows you how some victims are finding relief.
“I like to call it the silent disability,” Melanie West said. "No one can see it, feel it and so they look at you and they think you look normal.”
West said her life has been far from normal since she was a kid. “No one would believe me,” West continued. “I would be sent from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist.”
West has been suffering with tinnitus for years.
“I wasn't sleeping,” West said. “I was having a hard time concentrating again.”
When her condition intensified after a car accident two years ago, West turned to the Audiology and Hearing Aid Center in Scottsdale.
“People describe it in so many different ways from sounds like bees, sounds like crickets, sounds like buzzing in my head,” Dr. Cathy Kurth said. “It’s a phantom sound that the brain is generating because of the lack of sound. It’s like a high frequency hearing loss we so most commonly see tinnitus associated with.”
Kurth said hearing loss can be tied to excessive exposure to noise, like music.
“Once those hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, we can't replace them,” Kurth continued. “We can't re-grow them and the damage is done.”
Other causes of tinnitus include head trauma, whiplash and diabetes. One treatment being used to mask the ringing involves hearing aids or ones combined with sound therapy.
“It's a series of different sounds over and above the amplification that people will use when they have quiet time,” Kurth said. “On a scale of 1 to 10 for tinnitus, 10 extremely debilitating is a 7 to 8 and with sound therapy they now say a 1. I don't even notice anymore and that's a cure.”
For West the ringing in her ears decreased drastically. “I was kind of afraid to go out and find something else because I had always been told to go home and live with it, but the research is so much better today,” West said.
Kurth said there are so many other treatment options available to manage your tinnitus.
More information on tinnitus can be found at the American Tinnitus Association.
More information can also be found by contacting Dr. Cathy Kurth at Audiology and Hearing Aid Center by calling (480) 451-0220 or going to AZ Hearing Aid.