Hearing Disorders and Tinnitus
Hearing loss can be a frustrating problem both for individuals as well as their loved ones. While hearing loss can affect people of any age, hearing dysfunction has been shown to affect 25% of those between the ages of 65 and 74; while 50% of those over 75 years of age have some degree of hearing loss. A variety of disorders can affect hearing. Some involve structural changes in the ear itself such as perforations of the ear drum, growths (such as cholesteatomas), or scar tissue formation as a sequelae of repeated infections. Systemic diseases such as hypothyroidism, Paget’s disease and congenital syndromes can also affect hearing. Finally, various medications and environmental factors such as exposure to loud noise can damage hearing as well.
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when there is no external source and it affects 10-15% of adults in the United States. It can be described variously as ringing, chirping, clicking, or pulsations. Treatment options include hearing aids, sound therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Antidepressants, anticonvulsant and anxiolytic medications have been used with various degrees of success. Dietary supplements such as ginko biloba have both antioxidant and antihypoxic properties. Ginko, as well as zinc, and melatonin have shown variable effects on tinnitus. Some studies have shown a benefit, while others have shown little change in symptoms with these medications.
If you suffer from tinnitus or another hearing disorder, please call your doctor or contact us to request a hearing evaluation.