Ringing in the Ears

Health App Designed to Manage Tinnitus (Ringing in Ears)

If you suffer from ringing or buzzing in the ears or are seeking relief from bothersome noises around you, a phone app - Widex ZEN - might be your answer. Widex ZEN is a holistic approach that incorporates sound therapy, counseling and relaxation techniques to help manage Tinnitus or symptoms similar to those of Tinnitus. It can be used with earbuds or headphones, or with your Widex hearing aids (either with streaming capability or via a COM-DEX or UNI-DEX). It has shown to be effective in 80% of cases of Tinnitus.

Tinnitus (ti-NIGHT-us or TINN-a-tus) is also known as "ringing in the ears;" however, it can manifest as whistling, buzzing, hissing, roaring, swooshing, clicking, and many other sounds. Regardless of the sound, it can be extremely bothersome. It's also common. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately one in five people experience Tinnitus at some point in their lives. More than 90% of those experiencing Tinnitus also have hearing loss.

The Widex ZEN app consists of four components that can be tailored to your needs:

  1. Counseling - Provides you with relevant information to help you change the negative interpretation of Tinnitus

  2. Amplification - Used to stimulate the ears and brain to reduce the contrast between the surrounding sounds and the Tinnitus

  3. Fractal Tones - Designed to provide relaxation and reduce stress

  4. Relaxation - Exercises designed for relaxation and sleep management

Tinnitus management is one of the many services we offer. If you have Tinnitus or are experiencing ringing, buzzing or humming in your ears, call us for a complimentary consultation. We're happy to discuss Tinnitus management options with you.

Bose's New Sleepbuds Touted for Tinnitus

 Photo Credit: Bose

Photo Credit: Bose

Bose recently launched noise-masking sleepbuds™, tiny wireless earbuds designed for comfort that deliver soothing sounds to help you sleep. Bose markets the sleepbuds to everyone who has trouble falling or staying asleep due to unwanted noises like snoring and traffic (or for those who have partners who are bothered by standard noise machines). But, SoundGuys published an article a few days ago identifying another group who might benefit from these earbuds: those with Tinnitus. Since many of our patients suffer from Tinnitus, and we understand how it affects their sleep patterns, we were intrigued enough to look into this and share.

The new sleepbuds only work with the Bose Sleep app, meaning you can't listen to music or other forms of entertainment. The sleepbuds provide 10 soothing sounds you can choose from - ranging from beach settings to campfires - to help you fall and stay asleep. Some sounds are better suited to help mask unwanted noise, and some are designed purely for relaxation.

bose-sleepbuds-charging-case.jpg

The rechargeable batteries last up to 15 hours at max volume which, according to the SoundGuys, measured at 74dB. (We don't recommend more than 8 hours of exposure to sounds over 80dB due to noise-induced hearing loss.) The earbuds are charged in the battery case, which holds them in place magnetically. Another great feature is the ability to set an alarm that only you can hear. 

We visited the Bose community page to see what those with Tinnitus had to say about the sleepbuds. Users had some great recommendations, including partnering with other Tinnitus-relief apps and allowing users to adjust the frequency of sounds emitted from the sleepbuds. You can view some of these comments here

The earbuds retail on the Bose website for $249.95. 

Tinnitus is a condition most commonly known as "ringing in the ears;" however, the "ringing" can also be in the forms of whistling, buzzing, hissing, clicking, and roaring, among others. Take a closer look at Tinnitus' causes and management in our August 2017 blog post

Tinnitus or "Ringing in the Ears"

Tinnitus4.jpg

Tinnitus (ti-NIGHT-us or TINN-a-tus) is also known as "ringing in the ears;" however, it can manifest as whistling, buzzing, hissing, roaring, swooshing, clicking, and many other sounds. Regardless of the sound, it can be extremely bothersome. It's also common. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately one in five people experience Tinnitus at some point in their lives. More than 90% of those experiencing Tinnitus also have hearing loss.

In general, there are two types of Tinnitus:

  1. Subjective Tinnitus: Noises perceived by the patient only. This type of Tinnitus primarily results from auditory and neurological reactions to hearing loss, but it can also be caused by other health conditions. More than 99% of cases reported are subjective.
  2. Objective Tinnitus: Noises that can be heard by the patient, as well as others. These noises typically are produced by blood flow or the body's musculoskeletal systems. 

CAUSES OF TINNITUS

Tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying health condition; it's not a health disorder. It can be temporary or ongoing and is usually a reaction in the brain to damage in the ear and auditory system. Although there are many health disorders that cause Tinnitus, here are some of the most common:

  1. Hearing Loss - This is the most common cause of Tinnitus, whether it's age-related or noise-induced hearing loss. 
  2. Obstructions in the Outer and Middle Ear - Excessive ear wax, fluid, congestion, or foreign objects
  3. Head and Neck Trauma
  4. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder - Damage to the muscles, ligaments or cartilage of the TMJ, where the lower jaw connects to the skull in front of the ears
  5. Sinus Pressure
  6. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - One of the major causes of Tinnitus among our military and veterans.
  7. Ototoxic Drugs, including Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), certain antibiotics, cancer medications and diuretics. In some cases, stopping the medication will cause the Tinnitus symptoms to improve; however, this is a decision that must be made with a medical professional.
  8. Certain Medical Conditions, such as Hypo- and Hyperthyroidism, Anemia, Lyme's Disease, Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Anxiety and Ménière's Disease

TINNITUS MANAGEMENT

We use the word "management" because, unfortunately, there is currently no scientific cure for most types of Tinnitus. However, there are good, well-established tools and treatments that can significantly reduce the burden. Our most effective method is working with patients to identify an underlying health disorder to treat. This could be as simple as removing excess earwax, treating an ear infection, changing medications, or fitting patients with hearing aids if hearing loss is detected.

If you are experiencing Tinnitus, please feel free to give us a call. We will be happy to consult with you and determine the next steps. In the meantime, it may help for you to read from others who have lived with Tinnitus (including William Shatner) so you understand you are not in this alone.