What are some common myths about tinnitus?

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Did you know that tinnitus can be a side effect of taking aspirin? Or that 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus? The myths surrounding tinnitus can create some confusion for many individuals, particularly those suffering from it. Some people shared their knowledge about tinnitus below. Keep reading to clear up some of your own tinnitus misconceptions.

Jabe Brown

Jabe Brown

Understanding a Complex Condition

One major misunderstanding about tinnitus is that it’s categorised as a disease. Tinnitus, often referred to as ringing in the ears, is actually a symptom of an underlying condition, such as a traumatic event, prolonged exposure to loud noises or even certain vascular diseases.

Another common misconception is that tinnitus signals inevitable hearing loss. It’s true that tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss (in the majority of cases), but it doesn’t cause it. Many people with tinnitus have normal hearing, and some people with hearing loss do not have tinnitus.

Finally, tinnitus is often seen as a condition that people just have to learn to live with and that there is no cure/treatment. This isn’t always true; while there isn’t a magic pill to cure tinnitus, many treatment options can significantly alleviate the symptoms and improve quality of life. Options can range from cognitive behavioural therapy to sound therapy, or functional medicine approaches that take account of overall health, nutrition, stress levels, and more.

Tinnitus is a complex condition with profound impacts on individuals. Understanding these misconceptions is the first step towards better management and therapy for those affected by it.

Dr. Jill Barat

Dr. Jill Barat

Clearing Up 4 Misconceptions

A few misunderstandings about tinnitus include:

    1. Many people do not pronounce the condition correctly. Since -itis is a common ending for medical terms, and means that inflammation is involved, many think that you are supposed to pronounce tinnitus like tin-itis. The real pronunciation is ti-nuh-tuhs.

    2. It’s not only about your ears. Vascular diseases or disorders like high cholesterol or high blood pressure can lead to the development of tinnitus.

    3. You can make choices to help prevent the development of tinnitus. Avoiding loud noises or wearing sound protection equipment when appropriate can help protect the health of your ears. Additionally, avoiding or limiting nicotine and alcohol may help reduce the risk of developing tinnitus.

    4. Medications can have a side effect of tinnitus. NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen), diuretics (furosemide), certain antidepressants, and some antibiotics may come along with tinnitus. Usually, if the tinnitus developed due to a medication, the issue will go away if you stop using the medication or reduce the dose. Always talk to your doctor first before making any changes to your medication regimen.

Adam Crookes

Adam Crookes

Owner of donutmaker.io.

Treatments Aren’t Available

One common misunderstanding about tinnitus is that it is perceived as a standalone disease, when in reality, it is a symptom that can be linked to various underlying conditions, such as ear injury, age-related hearing loss, or a circulatory system disorder. This misconception can lead people to search for a cure for tinnitus itself, rather than addressing the underlying condition or cause that is triggering the tinnitus. This perspective can sometimes delay proper diagnosis and effective treatment.

Another prevalent misunderstanding is the belief that nothing can be done to manage tinnitus, leading to unnecessary distress and suffering. In fact, there are several treatment options available, including sound therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and certain medications that can help individuals manage and alleviate the severity of their symptoms. This misconception might discourage individuals from seeking medical care, assuming that they will just have to learn to live with the constant noise.

Furthermore, many people mistakenly associate tinnitus exclusively with significant hearing loss or with exposure to loud noises. While these are common causes of tinnitus, the condition can actually arise from a variety of other factors, such as stress, high blood pressure, and certain medications. This misconception can result in individuals not recognizing potential risk factors in their own lives, or misunderstanding the diverse range of potential triggers, thereby hindering prevention and early intervention efforts.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.