Tinnitus is an odd noise that sounds as if it’s coming from inside the ear. This noise generally presents itself as a buzzing or ringing in the ears.
This condition affects approximately 20 percent of the population. It’s not considered a medical condition by itself, although it may indicate other medical issues. Tinnitus is considered to be a distraction and aggravation which affects concentration. It may signal an underlying condition which much be treated. There are many facts people do not know about tinnitus, its symptoms, treatments and its relation to hearing loss.
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Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.
The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.
There are many different causes of tinnitus. These causes range from environmental conditions to other medical issues to aging of the body.
Environmental issues such as loud noises experienced repeatedly may be causes of tinnitus. Noise hazards experienced over time may damage the ears. This damage may also be caused by one incident of extremely loud noise. In this case the noise would need to be loud enough to damage the ear with one application. While tinnitus does not cause hearing loss there would be loss in this case and the tinnitus is the result, not the cause.
Certain medical conditions may cause tinnitus. In order to determine a medical cause for tinnitus, a doctor should be consulted, as some conditions may be life threatening. The tinnitus is an indication something is wrong and requires treatment. Depending upon the cause, the treatment of the medical issue may cause the tinnitus to disappear once treatment is complete.
Medical conditions may range from a simple ear infection to circulatory problems. These conditions may also involve stress related illness, as well as injuries of the upper body such as head or neck. These conditions may be treatable and the tinnitus may disappear once the issue has been resolved.
Aging of the body is a further cause of tinnitus. As the body ages, its systems may break down and may cause the inner ear to stop functioning correctly. While it does not cause hearing loss, tinnitus may accompany hearing loss in older adults. Medications may also cause tinnitus. While this is not always a symptom of aging, many older adults do take medication. There are many medications which have indications tinnitus may be experienced. This is considered a side effect of the medication and a doctor should be consulted if the ringing in the ears becomes an issue.
There is no cure but there are treatments for tinnitus. These take several forms. Changes to diet or medication may stop the tinnitus completely. Solving underlying health issues may also cause the tinnitus to stop. If these solutions are not part of the cause of the tinnitus, then other measures are necessary to mask the symptoms.
Treatments for tinnitus include white noise generators which have been an effective treatment. These generators help to depress the noise of the tinnitus. Hearing aids are also used as treatments for tinnitus to mask the noise. Drugs such as some anti-depressants may help to lessen the noise of tinnitus and a doctor should be consulted for a prescription. Non-medical treatments for tinnitus include living a healthier life with less stress, better diet and sleep habits.
Tinnitus is not a cause of hearing loss. It may point to issues with the ear itself or the hearing loss may be a normal symptom of aging. There are many conditions which may affect the inner ear and cause hearing loss. These range from hardening of the bones in the middle ear to inner ear tumors. Constant loud noise or an extreme noise incident may cause the nerves which transmit sound to the brain to be damaged. This will cause hearing loss as well. The tinnitus will generally occur after the hearing loss happens and will not directly cause loss of hearing.
Tinnitus in itself is not a serious medical issue. It may indicate other medical issues and a doctor should be consulted. There are many causes of tinnitus and there are treatments for tinnitus available. While it does not cause hearing problems, the loss of hearing may enable tinnitus to manifest. A doctor should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of tinnitus.