Man appearing to float on water. Misconception of Tinnitus.

Have you heard the one about a horse that walks into a bar?

Whether you’ve heard it or not, you know there’s going to be a punchline. And it’s probably going to be ridiculous and silly.

But unlike jokes where everyone knows it’s just for fun, silly misconceptions can hurt people if believing them causes them to do things that aren’t advisable.

Do you have some ridiculous misconceptions about tinnitus treatments?

Let’s find out.

1. Tinnitus Is a Disease

Tinnitus actually isn’t a disease at all. It’s a symptom of another condition. That could be high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety, prolonged noise exposure or something else.

2. Tinnitus Isn’t Curable

This one’s almost true. But not quite. There is no known “cure ” for tinnitus. You can’t just take a pill and, Poof! It’s gone.

But you can try to figure out what the underlying condition is, and you can sometimes treat that to either eliminate the tinnitus.

If that doesn’t work, there are also treatments for tinnitus that are very effective. One such treatment involves training your brain not to hear the sound that tinnitus makes.

3. If I Could Just Stop Eating Chocolate, My Tinnitus Would Stop

Some people may find that caffeine, preservatives or other substances in the diet make the tinnitus worse. They may choose to avoid foods or drinks that contain them, but as far as science knows, no foods or additives cause tinnitus.

4. Tinnitus Means I’m Losing My Hearing

Tinnitus is considered a form of hearing loss because it can be so loud that it’s hard to hear and understand others. But tinnitus is completely separate from traditional hearing loss. It doesn’t lead to or cause age-related hearing loss.

It can, however, be a warning sign as you’ll see in our next misconception.

5. It’s Best to Just Learn To Live with It

This is partially true. Tinnitus can’t really hurt you. And you may find that you do some things to try to live with it.

But it’s often a warning sign that you’re doing something that’s harming your body and/or hearing. For example, if you walk out of a loud concert with ringing in your ears, even if the ringing goes away it’s a sign letting you know that the concert was too loud.

Tinnitus might also warn you that you need to check your blood pressure or that your blood sugar is out of whack.

Listen to your body. Work with a hearing specialist to get to the root cause. Make changes in your lifestyle and follow doctor’s orders related to the cause to get rid of most tinnitus symptoms.

6. It’s Not Tinnitus Because I Hear Static

Tinnitus isn’t always a ringing sound. It can sound like many things such as:

  • Buzzing
  • TV static
  • Dial tone
  • Thumping
  • Whirring, like a blender

It can be many other sounds. Some even say that they hear a certain rhythm. That takes having a song stuck in your head to a whole new level.

7. It’s All in Your Head

Okay. Yes, this is sort of true. Your inner ear where the tinnitus is is inside your head. But tinnitus isn’t just your mind playing tricks on you.

In fact, in some cases, a hearing specialist can use a special instrument that allows them to hear what you’re hearing.

8. The Tinnitus Conundrum Is Always Hard to Solve

It can sometimes be difficult to get to the root cause of your tinnitus. But other times it’s something really simple like wax buildup deep in the outer ear. That’s why it’s important to talk to a professional.

If it is a build up of wax, it likely needs to be removed by a professional to avoid causing serious damage to the eardrum.

9. Hearing Aids Only Treat “Real” Hearing Loss

Hearing aids today can treat both hearing loss and tinnitus. Some hearing aids play a sound that cancels out the tinnitus sound. Eventually, you don’t hear it. Hearing aids also make it easier to hear other sounds over the tinnitus like voices, the TV, the air conditioner, a fan and other external sounds.

For most people, tinnitus is worse when they’re in a silent room. If you hear everything better, you’re rarely ever sitting in silence.

You Don’t Have to Suffer with Tinnitus. (This One’s True.)

Tinnitus does have a cause. Finding out what it is and treating it can significantly reduce or eliminate this symptom. If you’re dealing with tinnitus, talk to a professional.