Tinnitus and The Barriers To Tinnitus Care

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Do your ears buzz or ring after exposure to loud noise? This reaction is not uncommon, and it is a sensation that many people experience at some time. However, for some people, this ringing and buzzing never go away. It is a condition known as tinnitus, and it affects 40 to 50 million Americans. This annoying condition affects a person’s social life, job performance, and sleeping. It can contribute to psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, anger, and suicide ideation. So if tinnitus is so bad why do so many people delay seeking treatment and what barriers exist in treating tinnitus?

Tinnitus

People who experience tinnitus report ringing, buzzing, whistling, hissing, humming, and other types of noises. Tinnitus is a symptom of a disease. Many conditions can lead to tinnitus and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Tinnitus can impact one or both ears, and there is no universal cure for it. The most common source of tinnitus is exposure to music at high volume levels for a prolonged period. Medications, external ear infections, and head trauma can also cause tinnitus. Other possible causes of tinnitus may include:

  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Benign tumor of the cranial nerve
  • Earwax build-up
  • Abnormal bone growth in the ear
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Stress and depression
  • Long-term aspirin use

Treatment

Tinnitus may resolve on its own or one can use a treatment that addresses the underlying condition. Depending on the circumstances, the following treatments may help tinnitus:

  • Magnesium, zinc
  • Vitamin B supplementation
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Acupuncture
  • Cranial-sacral therapy
  • Hyperbaric oxygen
  • Hypnosis

The Barriers To Tinnitus Care

There is a severe risk of having an undiagnosed hearing problem associated with tinnitus. Issues of this type can adversely affect one’s quality of life. So if tinnitus is such an aggravating condition and there are treatments available, why are people still putting it off? Research may provide the answer to this question with seven barriers that may be preventing care.

  • Time is a factor. Excessive wait times in scheduling to see a specialist and shortage of practitioner time spent with each patient block adequate care for tinnitus.
  • Quality and appropriateness of referrals are not clear pathways to appropriate care.
  • Education and knowledge vary widely among practitioners.
  • Health provider approach in the lack of interest some general practitioners have regarding tinnitus.
  • Assessment variations among healthcare professionals are wide with some practitioners not using all of the available diagnostic tools.
  • Lack of services is cited by hearing healthcare professionals who do not have the option to refer tinnitus patients to see a clinical psychologist.
  • Ineffective treatment options dissatisfy many healthcare providers.

Don’t Neglect Tinnitus

Although research is finding barriers to adequate tinnitus care, do not let it stop you! The truth is that tinnitus is more than just an annoying ringing or buzzing in your ears. It can be indicative of a much more profound health problem. If you are experiencing tinnitus, please do not put off seeking care from a qualified healthcare provider.

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