Tinnitus ArticleRock legend Eric Clapton recently revealed that he suffers from tinnitus and is losing his hearing. Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a sound when there is none present. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the condition—commonly referred to as a ringing in the ears—affects more than 50 million people.

Dr. Rebecca Blaha, tinnitus expert at the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) of Salus University, says tinnitus is not a disease itself, but a symptom and it can affect a person’s quality of life.
“Patients with tinnitus most often report difficulty falling or staying asleep,” she said. “Patients also indicate feelings of depression and anxiety related to their tinnitus that reduce their enjoyment of many activities.”

Tinnitus can stem from many factors including age-related hearing loss, a family history of hearing loss, illness, medications or head injuries. Exposure to loud noise, something Clapton has experienced a lot during his five decades in music, can also be a contributing factor.
Clapton isn’t the only notable musician to speak out about tinnitus. Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am, Coldplay front man Chris Martin and The Who’s Pete Townsend, have all admitted to struggling with the condition.

While there is no cure, counseling and sound therapy are successful strategies for dealing with tinnitus. Counseling methods are based on cognitive behavioral therapy and work to understand the physical process that causes tinnitus and manage the reaction to the sound. Sound therapy uses noise, music, or other engaging sounds to help direct a person’s attention away from the tinnitus and to reduce stress.

Patients with hearing loss can also be treated with hearing aids to improve communication. Modern hearing aids are able to amplify the environment to help patients minimize tinnitus awareness. If amplification alone is not successful, a tinnitus therapy signal can also be enabled within the hearing aid to reduce tinnitus awareness and improve relaxation.

PEI offers a variety of tinnitus evaluation and management services. Our tinnitus expert will create a customized treatment plan to fit a patient’s needs.  On January 18, PEI will host a special “Coffee Talks” lecture where Dr. Blaha will discuss how tinnitus relates to hearing loss and review current management strategies. This free session is open to the public and complimentary hearing screenings will also be provided.

For more information, please call 215.780.3180.