What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus happens in the ears where people will hear delusion noises or ringing in their ears or head. These noises can be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched. You might hear it in either one or both ears. Tinnitus is usually caused by a fault in the hearing system. It is considered a symptom, not a disease in itself. However, it can influence your daily activities and your life’s quality.
How common is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is extremely common. Statistically, 10 percent of the American adult has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes. Nearly 25 million Americans get this symptom. Men are more likely to experience tinnitus than women. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
If you get tinnitus, you might experience straight, annoying noises that do not actually exist. Tinnitus symptoms include these types of phantom noises in your ears:
The unreal noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal. In particular cases, these sounds could be too loud for you to concentrate or hear the real sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, and it may go away by itself.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:
- You develop tinnitus after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, and your tinnitus doesnot improve within a week.
- Tinnitus occurs in sudden or without a reasonable cause.
- It affects tremendously on your hearing ability or makes you feel dizzy.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a symptom reflecting problems in your auditory system, which involves the ear. The auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound. Blockage of the ear canal by foreign objects can also be the cause of tinnitus. Mostly, tinnitus is the result of some health conditions, such as:
- Age-related hearing loss;
- Ear and sinus infections;
- Diseases of the heart or blood vessels;
- Meniere’s disease;
- Brain tumors;
- Hormonal changes in women;
- Thyroid abnormalities;
If people with tinnitus drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drink caffeinated beverages, symptoms can get worse. A single exposure to a sudden extremely loud noise can also cause tinnitus.
What increases my risk for tinnitus?
These factors may increase your risk for tinnitus:
- Loud noise exposure: prolonged exposure to loud noise can damage the tiny sensory hair cells in your ear that transmit sound to your brain. People whose professionals are carpenters, pilots, singers, rock musicians, street-repair workers and landscapers are also at Tinnitus risk. Because their working environment might possibly include chain saws, guns, loud devices or loud music.
- Age: as you get older, the number of functioning nerve fibers in your ears decline and possibly lead to hearing problems, which often associated with tinnitus.
- Gender: men are more likely to experience tinnitus.
- Smoking: smokers have a higher risk of developing tinnitus.
- Cardiovascular problems: conditions that affect your blood flow, such as high blood pressure or narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis), can increase your risk of tinnitus.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is tinnitus diagnosed?
When you see doctor for tinnitus diagnose, your doctor will examine your ears, head and neck to look for possible causes of tinnitus. The process might include:
- Hearing (audiological) exam: in the testing process, you will be ask to sit in a soundproof room wearing earphones. The earphone will played specific sounds into one ear at a time. The sounds you hear can help your doctor identify a possible underlying cause.
- Movement: your doctor may ask you to move your eyes, clench your jaw, or move your neck, arms and legs. If your tinnitus changes or worsens, it may help identify an underlying disorder that needs treatment.
- Imaging tests:depending on the suspected cause of your tinnitus, you may need imaging tests such as CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
How is tinnitus treated?
There is no treatment to eliminate tinnitus completely. Most doctors will order a combination of the palliative treatments below:
- Hearing aids:people who have hearing loss along with tinnitus are likely to benefit from this approach. Sometimes, doctors will start with removing impacted earwax to decrease tinnitus symptoms.
- Doctor counselingaims at educating yourself how to deal with tinnitus in your daily life.
- Wearable sound generatorsare used to produce soft, pleasant sounds to help mask the tinnitus.
- Tabletop sound generatorsare used as an aid for better relaxation or sleep at night.
- Acoustic neural stimulationis a relatively new technique in which a palm-sized device and headphones are used to deliver a broadband acoustic signal embedded in music. The treatment helps stimulate change in the neural circuits in the brain, which eventually restrain the way that brain responds to tinnitus, so you become less aware of the noises.
- Cochlear implantsare sometimes used in people who have tinnitus along with severe hearing loss.
- Taking antidepressants and antianxiety drugsprescribed by your doctor if you suffer from sleeplessness at night.
- Takingmedications may be an alternative remedy for tinnitus, but none of these preparations has been effectively proved in clinical trials.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage tinnitus?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with tinnitus:
- Avoid possible irritants: you should avoid environment or things that might worsen your condition such as loud noises, caffeine and nicotine.
- Cover up the noise: a quiet setting with a fan, soft music or low-volume radio static may help to cover up the ringing of
- Manage stress and fatigue: stress is one of the main factors make tinnitus worse, stress management; whether through relaxation therapy, biofeedback or exercise, is considerably helpful.
- Avoid or reduce drink alcohol: consumption of alcohol may lead to dilatation of blood vessels, especially in the inner ear area, which can may the symptoms worse.
- Choosing a suitable therapy: these include sound therapy (using comfortable sound to distract you from the fake noise of tinnitus), conseling (educating yourselves about tinnitus), cognitive behavioral therapy (changing your perception of tinnitus), tinnitus restraining therapy (restraining the way your brain responds to tinnitus).
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Tinnitus. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/manage/ptc-20180412. Accessed July 20, 2016.
Tinnitus. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Tinnitus/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed July 20, 2016.
Understanding Tinnitus -- the Basics. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-tinnitus-basics. Accessed July 20, 2016.
Treatment Options. http://www.ata.org/managing-your-tinnitus/treatment-options. Accessed July 20, 2016.
Review Date: June 29, 2017 | Last Modified: June 29, 2017