Trusted Tinnitus Experts in Berkeley, CA

Is the ringing or buzzing sound you experience driving you out of your mind?

Ten percent of the adult population, about 25 million people, in America experience some form of tinnitus annually. About five million of them experience the debilitating effects of chronic tinnitus 24/7.

Those with chronic tinnitus struggle to concentrate while reading or working, tend to experience a great deal of stress, and/or find it difficult to relax or fall asleep. Experts have struggled to unravel the various layers contributing to tinnitus for decades, hoping to identify a definitive cause, but a specific cause is yet to be discovered.

Without a cause, the cure still eludes researchers and doctors, but Berkeley Hearing Center has taken hold of various breakthroughs in tinnitus management in order to provide effective relief for tinnitus symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tinnitus

Q. What is the cause of tinnitus?
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A. The prevailing theory, connecting tinnitus to hearing loss, is the Central Gain Theory, which asserts that tinnitus is the result of your brain adapting and creating sounds that are no longer received through the normal hearing process. This phenomenon is similar to “phantom limb” experienced by amputees. Essentially, tinnitus is a neurological response to a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)
  • Ear infection or ear canal blockage
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Ototoxic medications
  • Meniere's disease
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Ear bone changes
  • Muscle spasms in the inner ear
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Acoustic neuroma or other head and neck tumors
  • Blood vessel disorders
  • Chronic conditions that can include diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia, and autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Q. Can tinnitus be permanently cured?
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A. The only forms of tinnitus that can be permanently cured are those types that are caused by a treatable underlying health condition, which might include:

  • Earwax removal
  • Removal of growths or tumors
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Treating a blood vessel condition
  • Making changes to your medications

Q. Can tinnitus cure itself?
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A. Only temporary tinnitus, which is the ringing in your ears you may have experienced after attending a game in a noisy stadium, a loud concert, loud music from a nightclub, or from discharging a firearm without wearing ear protection can “cure itself.”

Q. What happens if tinnitus is left untreated?
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A. Left untreated, tinnitus tends to get worse. As tinnitus symptoms become increasingly noticeable, increased awareness causes stress, stirring up your brain’s emotional centers, adding to the intensity of the sound and your awareness of it in a snowball effect.

Q. Is there any way to relieve tinnitus?
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A. Various tinnitus management technologies and techniques can provide relieve, such as:

  • Medication Therapy (to help with stress, anxiety, and/or lack of sleep)
  • Sound Therapy (to help disrupt the neural signals from tinnitus)
  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (a form of habituation therapy)
  • Hearing Aids (corrects accompanying hearing loss and reduces tinnitus symptom awareness)
  • Alternative Therapies (biofeedback and coping and relaxation techniques to limit the effects of stress and anxiety)

Q. Is tinnitus treatment covered by insurance?
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A. Most private insurance companies do not provide coverage for tinnitus treatment, but some VA assistance is available, and some occupations might be covered under Workers Compensation.

How Berkeley Hearing Center Helps Manage Tinnitus

Although most often described as a ringing sound, some individuals experience buzzing or humming sounds that are either constant or pulsatile. Before addressing your tinnitus symptoms, we use our standard hearing evaluation process to eliminate or confirm conditions that could be contributing to your tinnitus, such as:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)
  • Ear infection or ear canal blockage
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Ototoxic medications
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Ear bone changes
  • Muscle spasms in the inner ear
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Acoustic neuroma or other head and neck tumors
  • Blood vessel disorders
  • Chronic conditions that can include diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia, and autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
By treating these underlying conditions with hearing aids, in-office or surgical procedures, or the use of other medical therapies, we may be able to control or eliminate tinnitus symptoms.
Patient Conversing with Team Member at Berkeley Hearing Center
When tinnitus cannot be eliminated by any of these treatment options, our tinnitus experts use proven technologies and techniques to help you manage your tinnitus. However, while some patients respond to one type of treatment, others may not respond at all, so each case requires a very specific treatment, personalized for each individual patient, which may include:

Hearing Aids

Some types of hearing loss and tinnitus go hand in hand because the same damage that caused the hearing impairment also contributes to tinnitus. In addition, when an individual is experiencing a hearing loss, the lack of sound or muffled sound often makes them more aware of their tinnitus. Hearing aids provide the dual benefit of correcting hearing loss and sound masking.

Sound Maskers

This form of technology is used to cover up your tinnitus sounds in order to decrease your awareness of them. Various countertop or in-the-ear devices are available to help suppress the noise, such as:

  • White Noise Machines, which produce a sound similar to static or environmental sounds, such as falling rain or ocean waves, can help to mask tinnitus.
  • Masking Devices. Worn in the ear, sometimes included with hearing aids, these devices produce continuous, low-level white noise or music to help decrease tinnitus sound awareness.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)

Sometimes called habituation therapy, TRT involves retraining your brain to perceive the tinnitus in a different way. This behavioral therapy approach includes providing each individual patient with the tools to cope with the emotional difficulties such as depression, stress, or anger that often accompany tinnitus.

Often used in conjunction with some form of sound masking, the objective of tinnitus retraining therapy is to decrease the awareness of your tinnitus symptoms, which brings about a reduction of stress and anxiety, helping you regain your capacity to continue the active, independent lifestyle you’re used to.

Schedule a Tinnitus Assessment

Are you going crazy due to the ringing in your ears? The good news is that your symptoms are manageable and the tinnitus experts at Berkeley Hearing Center understand the confusion, stress, and frustration caused by tinnitus.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of products, treatments, services, and dietary practices without any clinical evidence to lead you astray. Instead of being taken in by the newest “tinnitus curing” gadget, contact us by using the adjacent form and begin the process of true relief using proven management technologies and techniques.

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