Tinnitus is a condition where a person hears (or feels like they can hear) a constant ringing or buzzing inside their ears. Tinnitus is not a disorder itself but a symptom of an underlying condition such as problems related to hearing loss, ear injury, or a circulatory system disorder.
According to a report, around 50 million Americans are suffering from tinnitus. Usually, the noise is subjective, meaning only the person suffering can hear the sound, but in less than 1% cases, the sound may be heard by other people nearby, indicating towards a serious medical condition.
The symptoms are simple to diagnose. If you hear any of the following phantom noises without the presence of an audio source, then you are suffering from tinnitus.
The pitch of these phantom noises can vary from a low base sound to high-frequency squeal. There is a possibility that you hear these sounds in one or both of your ears. An intense condition can also hinder your ability to concentrate on the actual sound.
The following are some of the common causes of tinnitus:
1. Inner ear cell damage
Most commonly, people suffer from tinnitus due to the damage of inner ear tiny hair cells which are responsible to perceive sound waves. When these cells are damaged, they leak random electronic impulses to the brain, causing tinnitus.
Naturally, when a person ages, their hearing capacity is greatly affected due to the loss of inner ear hair cells. This hearing loss causes tinnitus which usually begins around the age of 60. This condition is medically termed as presbycusis.
3. Loud noise
A sound level higher than 85 decibels is considered to be detrimental for your ear health. Tinnitus caused by attending a loud concert or a short-term exposure to a loud noise source generally subsides after a short time. While long-term exposure can cause permanent damage to the ears.
4. Ear problems
Ear problems can also be a source of this sensation. For example, accumulation of ear wax affects the hearing power which leads to tinnitus. ENT specialists have also linked otosclerosis to tinnitus.
5. Medical conditions
There are medical conditions which cause tinnitus as early symptom of their presence. Conditions like Meniere’s disease, TMJ disorders, acoustic neuroma, and blood vessel disorders can lead to tinnitus.
6. Head and neck injuries
A blow to your head or neck can potentially damage your inner ear or the nervous system linked to hearing. Such injuries are the reason of tinnitus in only one of the ears.
There are number of medications that are believed to cause or worsen tinnitus. Certain antidepressants, antibiotics, cancer medication, and others can lead to a temporary tinnitus. This symptom generally goes away after discontinuing the use of these medicines.
Treatment for tinnitus in Eldorado Audiology and Hearing Center
· Tinnitus Masking
Tinnitus masking is a conventional technique to treat the unwanted sensation. A tinnitus masker is a device which produces white or pink noise to mask tinnitus. This way the unwanted sound is overshadowed. These generally come built-in to hearing aid devices.
· Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
This treatment involves retraining the ear system to perceive the tinnitus sound as a pleasant sound rather than disruptive.
This therapy is carried out by a professional who makes the person with this condition wear a device which emits low-level white noise while playing pleasant sound in the background. These sessions have helped around 80% of the patients.
If you are suffering from tinnitus, then call us and get your appointment today!