Tinnitus Specialist

Gary A. Coté, MA, CCC-A -  - Audiology

South Bay Hearing and Balance

Gary A. Coté, MA, CCC-A

Audiology located in Chula Vista, CA

Tinnitus, also called ringing in the ears, is a common problem that affects 15-20% of adults. Though it can develop in children, it often goes undiagnosed until they’re old enough to realize the sound isn’t a normal part of hearing. Gary A. Coté, MA, CCC-A, and the team at South Bay Hearing and Balance in Chula Vista, California, diagnose the cause of tinnitus and create a customized treatment plan that may include advanced technology that retrains your brain to ignore the sound. To schedule an appointment, call the office today or book an appointment using the online scheduler.

Tinnitus Q & A

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus refers to hearing a sound that others can’t hear because it comes from inside your body. Though it’s commonly described as a ringing in your ear, tinnitus includes a range of noises, such as:

  • Rushing
  • Buzzing
  • Clicking
  • Whistling
  • Hissing

You may hear the sound constantly, or it could come-and-go. The problem can affect one or both ears, and the volume may be soft or so loud it interferes with hearing other sounds.

What causes tinnitus?

Sometimes, a physical cause for tinnitus is unidentifiable. In many cases, however, tinnitus develops due to an underlying problem such as:

  • Inner ear damage
  • Earwax buildup
  • Middle ear infection
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Auditory nerve problems
  • Pressure on the eardrum
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction

Though not common, conditions that aren’t related to your ear can cause tinnitus. Blood vessel disease, certain medications, anxiety, and stress are all associated with ringing in the ears.

How is tinnitus treated?

If your provider diagnoses an underlying condition, your treatment begins by addressing that problem. Treatment options that directly target tinnitus include:

Noise suppression

A white noise machine or other masking devices can block out the sound you hear.

Hearing aid

If you also have hearing loss, you may get a hearing aid that masks the sounds of tinnitus.

Acoustic stimulation

Your provider at South Bay Hearing and Balance may recommend headphones that transmit an acoustic signal embedded in music. The signal desensitizes you to the sound you hear.

Brain retraining with the Levo® System

This innovative device retrains your brain to ignore the sound. First, your provider gives you a test to determine if the Levo System is the best therapy for your tinnitus. Then, they show you how to use the device and help you perform a sound match.

During a sound match, the Levo System identifies the unique frequency and intensity of your tinnitus. Then it creates a specific sound that you listen to through an earbud while you sleep.

As you use the device over the next three months, the sound from your Levo System interacts with your brain and creates new neural connections. As a result, your brain learns to ignore the sound, and you stop hearing it while you’re awake.

If you need help with tinnitus, book an appointment online or call South Bay Hearing and Balance today.