Experiencing a ringing sensation in the inner ear? Or do Quiet places seem to haunt your ears? If yes, you are experiencing tinnitus. Perception of ringing, hissing, whistling or buzzing sound in the inner ear without any external sound is referred to as tinnitus.
Tinnitus is not that uncommon. If stats are to be believed its existence is found in 15 to 20 percent of the population and it is majorly diagnosed in people over the age group of 50 years. Tinnitus caused due to Age-related factors becomes worse with time and remains persistent.
The phantom of sound heard in tinnitus can range from low to high pitch and in some cases remains constant; it entirely depends on the underlying cause. The person suffering from tinnitus may hear sound in both the ears and either of the one.
Inflammation or injury in the inner ear or circulatory system disorders is responsible for causing tinnitus. If the case is chronic, it may even lead to loss of permanent hearing ability.
Living with tinnitus is not an easy task as it looks to the outside world. Low background sounds trigger tinnitus symptoms making it difficult to fall asleep in a quiet room which may lead to anxiety and stress, thus affecting the quality of life. You will start feeling annoyed as ringing sensations make it difficult for you to carry daily chores with ease.
A recent report states that people working in construction agencies or agencies where they have to deal with prolonged duration of loud noises are at higher risk of being affected by tinnitus.
Treating tinnitus is not as tough as it seems. Seek medical help on time to subside tinnitus symptoms fast and get back to the daily routine. An expert neurologist will ask you to undergo various vertigo tests to examine the underlying tinnitus causes. He would suggest with the right tinnitus treatment and therapies to reduce the noises in the ear after tinnitus diagnosis for a speedy recovery.
Tinnitus is widely categorized into two parts:
Subjective Tinnitus: A majority of the population experiences subjective tinnitus, where a person suffering from tinnitus only hears the ringing sensation and not the other person.
Objective Tinnitus: It is a very rare case; the ringing sound can be heard by the patient and the doctor who is examining the condition.
In this article, we will share a brief guide about tinnitus. Its symptoms, causes and how it is treated by medicals.
What are the common tinnitus causes?
Inflammation or injury in the inner ear or circulatory system disorder can lead to tinnitus. Apart from it, there are various other causes that lead to a ringing sensation in the inner ear. Let’s go through the list of some common cause of tinnitus diagnosed by medical professionals:
1. Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss
Age factor is one such important factor that leads to tinnitus. It is majorly diagnosed in people who lie above the age group of 50 years. Hearing loss is one of the most common complaints of people who fall in the age group of 50-75 years. Tinnitus can be one such reason for hearing loss as age progresses.
2. Exposure to loud noise
Prolonged exposure to loud noise can lead to tinnitus. It can even be caused due to short term exposure to loud noise. People who work in construction agencies or work behind the scenes of rock concerts on a daily basis are at higher risk of developing tinnitus.
3. Earwax build-up
Earwax buildup can be one such cause of tinnitus. Wax is produced in the ear for protecting it and lubricate hair cells. Cleaning wax with earbuds sometimes results in pushing them further thereby resulting in blockage which starts showing tinnitus symptoms later on.
4. Head injuries or neck injuries
An injury in the head or neck sometimes results in affecting the inner ear thereby causing tinnitus. In such cases, a person experiences ringing sensations in one ear only.
5. Medical conditions
Hypertension, anaemia, thyroid disorders, high blood pressure & diabetes, etc are some of the common medical conditions that lead to tinnitus.
Sometimes a higher dose of some medicines can cause tinnitus or even worsen the situation. Certain antibiotics, water pills, cancer medications, aspirin are some of the common medications that are known to cause tinnitus or make the situation worse.
7. Meniere’s disease
The fluid build-up in the inner ear can be one such cause of tinnitus.
8. Caffeine and Alcohol
Excessive intake of nicotine, alcohol & caffeine can even lead to Tinnitus.
People who are prone to smoking or are chain smokers are at higher risk of developing tinnitus.
10. Acoustic neuroma
It can cause tinnitus in one ear as the non-cancerous (benign) tumor develops on the cranial nerve that runs from your brain to your inner ear and is responsible for balancing and hearing.
What are the common symptoms of Tinnitus?
Here is a list of some common tinnitus symptoms that need immediate medical attention:
- Ringing, hissing, whistling, clicking, roaring or buzzing in the inner ear
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Concentration problems
- Memory issues
- Dizziness due to Meniere’s disease
It is advised to seek medical help if you experience any of the tinnitus symptoms. Seeking medical help on time helps in alleviating tinnitus symptoms eventually.
Tinnitus diagnosis and treatment:
If you are experiencing any of the tinnitus symptoms, consult an expert neurologist. He would ask you to undergo various vertigo tests for tinnitus diagnosis. He would suggest the right tinnitus treatment and therapies. Apart from it, your doctor will seek your complete medical history. If any medicine is responsible for triggering a condition, he may ask you to stop certain drugs immediately.
Here is a list of some common tinnitus treatments:
1. Hearing aids
If a person is experiencing hearing loss due to tinnitus, a doctor may advise you to wear a hearing aid in the affected ear. A well-fitted hearing aid improves hearing efficiency by reducing the distracting sound in the inner ear.
2. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
TRT is the best therapy for treatment of tinnitus as it reduces the sound heard in the inner ear by making it less noticeable. Doctors advise Tinnitus Retraining Therapy as one of the best tinnitus treatments as it makes you accept the annoying sounds in the inner ear.
In this therapy, a device is inserted in the ear that helps in generating a sound that matches the pitch of the ringing sensation experienced by the patient suffering from tinnitus.
Doctors generally recommend continuing Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) as slow but assured tinnitus treatments for at least a year or two to alleviate symptoms completely.
3. Cognitive-Behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is another therapy like TRT that is quite effective in treating patients suffering from tinnitus. Cognitive-behavioural therapy even helps in making the sounds heard in the inner ear less noticeable. It helps in changing the patient’s perception and the way they respond to tinnitus.