Tinnitus And Musical Ear Syndrome

What’s The Difference Between Tinnitus And Musical Ear Syndrome?

by | Apr 4, 2022 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources, Tinnitus

Recently, we’ve received many inquiries regarding tinnitus, with an increase in cases and a high variety of reported associated symptoms.

Alongside tinnitus, we have now noticed an increased number of people concerned with musical ear syndrome as well.

While this is less common than tinnitus, it still poses a threat to your hearing health and is currently something that can’t be cured.

I want to help those within our Phoenix communities to better understand the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for musical ear syndrome and how it differs from the more commonly known condition, tinnitus.

What Is Tinnitus?

You may be more familiar with tinnitus, as someone in your family or close circle may be struggling with it right now. Tinnitus is common in the US, and the more awareness we can raise, the fewer people will have to deal with it alone.

Since tinnitus is often caused by external factors, we believe it can be prevented. It most commonly afflicts those who are already dealing with a hearing loss. It occurs due to the brain not receiving enough stimulation.

Most patients report hearing a constant buzzing, ringing, or hissing sound. This sound can only be heard by them and can present itself at different volumes, frequencies, and patterns.

There is currently no cure for tinnitus, but it can be managed, and in some rare cases, it has gone away on its own.

What Is Musical Ear Syndrome?

Still reasonably common, musical ear syndrome happens more than we know about. Many people are affected by this but keep it to themselves, so it goes undiagnosed.

Similar to tinnitus, when your brain is under stimulated, it will create techniques to mimic audio activity. In this case, it creates a tune or a humming in the form of an auditory hallucination.

It’s something only the patient can hear as well. This is like when you have a song stuck in your head but much more relentless.

Musical ear syndrome or musical tinnitus also stems from long-term hearing loss and is also preventable. We encourage everyone to take good care of their hearing before it gets to this stage.

Tinnitus Or Musical Ear Syndrome?

What Causes Musical Ear Syndrome?

While this is not fully determined, we know that taking good care of your hearing will keep your hearing healthy. For those that are dealing with MES, the most common causes are below.

Hearing Loss – This is the number one cause and can also lead to other more damaging conditions such as depression and dementia. If you suspect you are struggling with your hearing, please see us soon.

Cochlear Implant Removal – Although much less common, small studies have shown that removing a cochlear implant could trigger MES. More research is needed, however, and this is not a reason to avoid cochlear implants, but we’re here to help you understand your hearing healthcare options.

Medications – The rarest of the three, certain medications can cause auditory hallucinations in the same way they can cause mental hallucinations. We always ask for essential health records from our patients to ensure that treatment options are considered carefully.

What Are The Treatments For Musical Ear Syndrome?

We have a couple of different options to treat MES. No matter what stage you’re at, we have the experience to help you get through it and improve your hearing.

Hearing Aids – As the best treatment, hearing aids have come a long way since your parents used them years ago. The technology is such that it can be adjusted to address your issues directly. Those with MES can get their prescription hearing aid programmed to constantly play another sound to mask the effects of MES. They can also address more than one problem at a time for those who have other hearing loss-related problems.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Learning how to live with musical ear syndrome is not ideal, but sometimes, it’s the only option. This process involves dedication and professional assistance to focus your brain elsewhere. It takes time and effort but must be done to protect the integrity of your mental health.

What Are Your Next Steps?

If you are dealing with musical ear syndrome or tinnitus, then please call us right away. We are trained and experienced in addressing both. Our friendly staff is always on call to lend a helping hand.

The first step to a diagnosis will be a comprehensive hearing assessment. This test provides us with all the information we need to know about your hearing issues.

You can schedule an assessment online or give us a call with any questions you may have. We are here to help no matter what condition your hearing is in.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Daniel Hewson

Born and raised in Western New York, Dan Hewson comes to our practice with over 19 years of experience in the field. With a master’s degree in audiology from SUNY Fredonia, Mr. Hewson has extensive experience working in several of the largest Otolaryngology practices in the country, and also as a Regional Manager with Siemens Medical Audiology Division. Father, husband, and full-time employee with us, Dan is currently a student working to earn his doctorate in audiology; it should be completed by 2018.

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