Tinnitus can be caused by faulty products, age, and loud noises. Learn more about how it affects your life.
What is the Impact of Tinnitus on Your Quality of Life?
Did you know that tinnitus is not actually a disease? It’s a symptom.
Tinnitus is a symptom that something is wrong in a person’s auditory system. Tinnitus can be experienced in a number of ways. It is most commonly experienced as a ringing in one or both ears, but it can have other symptoms as well, which will be discussed in more detail below.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, in the past year, “roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes.” Children can experience tinnitus as well. According to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, “15 percent of children have chronic tinnitus.”
With tinnitus being so common, it should come as no surprise that it can have a variety of causes. Some causes are temporary and easily remedied, like ear wax. Other causes include the following:
- Hormonal changes
- Ear, head, or neck injuries
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
- Head and neck tumors
- Hearing loss
Tinnitus can be caused by age-related hearing loss. It can also be caused by hearing loss related to loud noises. Thousands of military personnel who were issued defective 3M earplugs have suffered a number of hearing-related issues, including tinnitus. Many of these service members have filed lawsuits, claiming the defective 3M earplugs caused their tinnitus and other hearing-related problems.
What is Tinnitus’s Impact on Your Quality of Life?
For some, tinnitus can be a sporadic annoyance. For many, it is a significant disruptor. When discussing the impact of tinnitus on your quality of life, it can be helpful to think about noise in general. Think about how noises can impact your mood, your ability to concentrate on tasks, and even your ability to hold a conversation. Most noises can be controlled or ignored. If a television is too loud, you adjust the volume. If the fridge is humming, your ears get used to the noise, and it becomes imperceptible.
What happens when the noise is directly in your ear? It becomes harder to ignore. That means that the noise can impact every aspect of your daily life. The impact of tinnitus can be experienced in the following ways:
- Problems with work. Tinnitus can impact a person’s ability to concentrate, which can impact their ability to work. According to data collected by Tinnitus Hub, “more than a third—38 percent—of people who say they have tinnitus say that the condition has negatively affected their work prospects.”
- Anxiety and sleep issues. There is a link between tinnitus, anxiety, and sleep issues. Research has found “that 54 percent of people with tinnitus also had a sleep disorder.”
- Depression. In a systematic review of the evidence in Frontiers in Neurology regarding the correlation between tinnitus and depression, researchers found that “a statistically significant correlation was found between the experienced tinnitus distress and the reported severity of symptoms of depression in patients with chronic tinnitus.”
The above list merely provides a glimpse into the impact of tinnitus on quality of life. Tinnitus can impact a person’s stress levels, cause memory problems, contribute to headaches, and also cause issues in a person’s personal life.
What are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?
Unfortunately for sufferers, tinnitus is not a one-trick pony. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways. If you are only familiar with ringing in the ears, you may be wondering—what are the symptoms of tinnitus? In addition to ringing, tinnitus can also be experienced as any of the following in one or both ears:
- Non-stop buzzing
- Continuous roaring
- High-pitched whistling
- Clicking sounds
- Whooshing or pulsing
Whether or not the above symptoms affect your life depends on their severity and how often they occur. If the noise is low in pitch or volume, it may have less of an impact on your life than if it is higher in pitch or volume.Additionally, if the noise persists for a long period of time or occurs frequently, it will most likely impact your life more than a symptom that rarely occurs.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus can have a number of causes. A person can develop tinnitus at any time in their life. Causes of tinnitus are numerous and can include those discussed below:
- Disease. A number of diseases are associated with tinnitus including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Meniere’s disease.
- Infections. Ear infections can cause pressure to build up in your middle ear and can lead to tinnitus.
- Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes in women, like during pregnancy, menopause, or menstrual cycles, have been linked to tinnitus.
- Ear, head, or neck injuries. Trauma to the head, neck, or ear can cause tinnitus.
- TMJ disorders. The TMJ is a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. The joint is located near your ears and issues with the TMJ can cause tinnitus.
- Head and neck tumors. There are a number of head, neck, and brain tumors that can contribute to tinnitus. Tinnitus is a common symptom of acoustic neuromas which are “noncancerous tumors that grow in the ear.”
- Medications. Some medications can cause tinnitus or make tinnitus worse.
- Hearing loss. Age or exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing loss, which can cause tinnitus. Service members who used defective 3M earplugs were frequently exposed to loud noises, which, for many, contributed to tinnitus and hearing loss.
If you or a loved one has suffered hearing loss and is experiencing tinnitus, reach out to the Guardian Legal Network to see if you are eligible for compensation.
What Helps with Tinnitus?
Anyone who has suffered from tinnitus has asked the following questions:
- Does tinnitus go away?
- What helps with tinnitus?
Unfortunately, there is no direct answer to either of these questions. Sometimes, tinnitus goes away on its own. In other instances, a person may need treatment for their tinnitus before it subsides. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of the tinnitus.
There is no direct cure for tinnitus. However, if you currently suffer from tinnitus, there are things that you can do to help with it and slow its progression. What helps with your tinnitus will depend on what is causing your tinnitus. Below are some solutions to common tinnitus causes.
If your medication is causing or worsening your tinnitus, then changing your medication may help relieve your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about your options.
Hearing aids can actually help tinnitus if the tinnitus is caused by hearing loss. This includes hearing loss caused by loud noises as well as age.
Tinnitus cannot be cured. However, noise suppression devices may help to treat the symptoms. If you have tinnitus, a white noise machine or other device like a fan can help to make it less noticeable.
Connect With a 3M Military Earplugs Lawyer
Thousands of veterans have suffered hearing loss and tinnitus due to defective 3M earplugs. Many have filed tort claims against the manufacturer to hold it accountable for their injuries. The 3M earplug lawsuits help veterans get the justice they deserve for their hearing loss and tinnitus.
If you think that you have developed tinnitus as a result of poor-quality earplugs, you need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in 3M military earplug litigation. Contact the Guardian Legal Network today to connect with a 3M military earplugs lawyer.
- “Quick Statistics About Hearing.” National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 25 March 2021, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing#7. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- “Tinnitus.” Boston’s Children’s Hospital, https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions/tinnitus. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- Milinski, Linus, et al. “Tinnitus: at a crossroad between phantom perception and sleep.” Oxford Academic, Brain Communications, 5 April 2022, https://academic.oup.com/braincomms/article/4/3/fcac089/6563428. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- Goedhart, Hazel, and Markku Vesala. “Working With Tinnitus.” Hearing Health Foundation, 28 January 2020, https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/blogs/working-with-tinnitus. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- Poulter, Tannya. “A Link Between Tinnitus, Anxiety, And Sleep Issues.” South Shore Hearing Center, 25 June 2021, https://sshc.com/patient-resources/a-link-between-tinnitus-anxiety-and-sleep-issues/. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- Meijers, Sebastiaan , et al. “Correlation Between Chronic Tinnitus Distress and Symptoms of Depression: A Systematic Review.” Frontiers, Frontiers in Neurology, 2 May 2022, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2022.870433/full. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- Curtis, Brent. “Hormonal Changes in Women & Tinnitus.” https://www.tinnitusformula.com/library/hormonal-changes-in-women-tinnitus/. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- Yu, Jin-Na, et al. “Association between menstrual cycle irregularity and tinnitus: a nationwide population-based study.” Nature, Scientific Reports, 1 October, 2019, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-50559-5. Accessed December 8, 2022.
- Jackson, Christopher, and Francis Xavier Creighton Jr. “Acoustic Neuroma (Vestibular Schwannoma).” Johns Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/brain-tumor/vestibular-schwannoma. Accessed December 8, 2022.