Tinnitus

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies




Tinnitus Treatment Remedies

 

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Tinnitus?

Occasionally, the noise experienced by a person diagnosed with tinnitus may be in sync with your heartbeat.

This form of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus.

It is important to clarify that tinnitus does not result in hearing loss and neither does a hearing loss develop into tinnitus.

In some cases however, persons diagnosed with tinnitus may report hyperacusis, a condition where one becomes acutely sensitive to any kind of sound.

Some of the reported cases of tinnitus have been linked to ear blockages and certain infections of the ear.

In such cases, treatment of the underlying cause roots out tinnitus.

Generally, tinnitus occurs as a result of a defect or some fault in one’s hearing system; the condition is therefore a symptom, and not a disease.

The term "tinnitus" is a Latin word that means ‘tinkling’ in English language.

The condition can therefore be described as abnormal noise overheard in the outer, middle, or inner ear.

It could also be registered in the brain.

Tinnitus is more of a nuisance that can disappear on its own.

However, in some cases medication or surgical treatments may be suggested by your doctor for its proper management.

Tinnitus is often referred to as "ringing in the ears" courtesy of its distinctive symptoms that are characterized by hearing of ringing sounds in the ear.

The sounds heard could high or soft, or of varying pitch.

The noises can also be heard in one of the ears or both.

About 10 to 20 percent of the total population are estimated to experience tinnitus at one point in of their life.

Tinnitus can also be described as a conscious cognisance of sounds that cannot be linked to any external source.

This could originate in your ear or head.

Each and every person, at one point in life, experiences his or her own tinnitus tone.

An estimated 7 million people in the United Kingdom alone have suffered from tinnitus at point in their life.

This condition can be classified as either subjective tinnitus (where sounds are only heard by you) or objective tinnitus (where sounds are heard by your examiner).

Subjective tinnitus (associated with hearing loss) remains the most prominent type of tinnitus.

Damaging the minute hair cells of the cochlea makes it hard for the cochlea to discriminate different sounds, which impairs your hearing.

The hair cells could be damaged by certain drugs, aging process, or noise exposure.

Objective tinnitus on the other hand is a rare occurrence.

Spasms of tiny muscles in the middle ear and blood vessel abnormalities may result in ringing or buzzing noises in the ear.

These noises in the ear are usually registered as clicking sounds.

Pulsatile tinnitus occurs as a result of turbulent blood flow to the ear.

This is characterized by increased blood flow to the ear courtesy of an infection, some inflammation, or anatomical abnormalities witnessed in blood vessels.

Pulsatile tinnitus usually occurs in sync with your heartbeat.

Individuals diagnosed with pulsatile tinnitus usually report rhythmical noises that match your pulse rate.

Other rare types of tinnitus include those caused by low frequency noise or musical hallucinations.

Sources of low frequency noise tinnitus could be underground gas pipes, air-conditioning units, home appliances, and road or air traffic noises.

Musical hallucinations are often experienced by persons with acute sensitivity to sound or those with a hearing loss.

It is believed that stress may trigger off such kind of hallucinations leading to tinnitus.

Tinnitus Symptoms

In most cases, persons diagnosed with the condition will report difficulty sleeping, and a lack of concentration.

Some patients may feel depressed or to some extent, anxious.

Some patients may also experience mood disturbances at some point after being diagnosed with the condition.

Tinnitus Causes

It is also important to note that a single instance of exposure to sudden sharp noise may trigger off tinnitus.

A build-up of wax, a benign tumour (though rare) of the auditory nerve, or an infection of the ear may block your inner ear.

Certain drugs are also responsible for a few cases of tinnitus.

Such drugs include anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, sedatives, quinine medications, and most of antibiotics.

Aspirin is one such medication responsible for causing this condition.

Old age comes with the impairment of some parts of the ear, most notably the cochlea, which might be a trigger factor for tinnitus.

Pesbycusis is a medical term that refers to loss of hearing with growing age.

From the age of 60 years onwards, one’s hearing ability deteriorates.

This explains why old age is a risk factor for tinnitus.

Some diseases and infections of the ear are also cited as causes of tinnitus-for instance, Meniere's disease, an infection of the inner ear, is responsible for a number of reported cases of this condition.

Otosclerosis, which stiffens the cochlea, has also been blamed for a number of cases of tinnitus.

Some medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, allergies, diabetes, underactive thyroid glands, anaemia, and high blood pressure may also lead to development of tinnitus.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a neck and jaw problem capable of causing tinnitus.

Any injuries caused on the head or neck may also translate into tinnitus.

This is because the inner ear is easily affected by head trauma or neck trauma.

Some types of tumours are also considered as trigger factors of this ear condition.

Acoustic neuroma (also known as vestibular schwannoma) is a non-cancerous tumour that develops on the nerve that controls hearing as well as balance (the cranial nerve).

The cranial nerve starts from the brain to the inner ear.

A number of blood vessel disorders have also been confirmed as possible causes of tinnitus.

Examples of blood vessel disorders linked to this condition include head and neck tumours, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow, malformation of capillaries, and many others.

Vascular neoplasm (head or neck tumours) causes tinnitus and other symptoms.

This occurs when a tumour presses against the blood vessels within your neck or head.

Atherosclerosis refers to a condition whereby the blood vessels located close to the middle and inner ears lose their elasticity as a result of old age and build-up of cholesterol.

As a consequence, forceful blood flow occurs which makes it possible for your ear to capture the sound of the flowing blood

The increased and forceful blood flow therefore causes tinnitus.

High blood pressure and other factors such as alcohol and stress may also result in tinnitus.

A turbulent or irregular blood flow resulting from some narrowing of a neck artery may also lead to tinnitus.

Arteriovenous malformation is a condition characterized by abnormal connections between the arteries and veins.

This may lead to tinnitus.

Tinnitus Diagnosis

It is of utmost importance that you seek the attention of your doctor if you develop any problem with your hearing or any other symptoms such as buzzing noises.

The primary focus of tinnitus evaluation should be to discover any active but treatable medical conditions that could be contributing to the patient’s symptoms.

These medical conditions could be as simple as ear wax accumulation in the ear or as complex as a condition affecting auditory neural pathways.

The most common ear conditions that may cause tinnitus are otitis media (which affects the middle ear), otosclerosis (affects the middle ear), sudden deafness, acoustic neuroma, or presbycusis (hearing loss linked to natural aging).

Other conditions include noise-induced hearing loss, Ménière’s disease and some brain diseases.

During diagnosis of tinnitus, your general practitioner will rely on your symptoms and medical history to examine your situation.

Your doctor will examine your neck, head, or torso to unravel the underlying cause of your symptoms.

The doctor may also use a special instrument such as an auriscope to look into your ears.

This will allow your doctor to discover any underlying conditions in the middle or outer ear.

The doctor tries to find out any connection of your condition to other temporary ear connections that can be treated.

If your symptoms are as a result of an ear infection or a build-up of ear wax, the doctor will easily treat the condition.

Your doctor is also likely to refer you to another specialist if he suspects any hearing or balance problems.

If the general practitioner rules out an underlying cause for the symptoms of tinnitus, he may find it necessary to refer you to the ENT (ear, nose and throat) department.

The ENT specialist will then examine your condition, and carry out relevant tests to discover the exact cause of your symptoms.

This is where the CT and MRI scans come in handy.

If hearing loss is suspected, the ENT specialist may send you to an audiologist who will carry out a number of hearing tests to assess the extent of the condition.

Where the doctor suspects any link of your symptoms to jaw problems, he may send you to a dentist for further tests and assessment.

Tinnitus Treatment

One other treatment option is a tinnitus-retraining therapy.

This form of sound therapy combines counselling sessions with episodes of listening to specially created low-pitch sounds.

With each episode of exposure, the patient becomes more aware of the situation and learns the negative feelings associated with it.

Your doctor may also recommend cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to examine cognitive processes such as unwanted attitudes, thoughts, or beliefs.

This is combined with behavioural therapy which concentrates on the patient’s reaction to such thoughts.

Surgery is rarely recommended for persons diagnosed with tinnitus.

The doctor may however suggest surgery if the underlying cause of tinnitus is a physical problem such as a non-cancerous tumour (acoustic neuroma).

In some cases, your doctor may also suggest complementary therapies aimed at promoting relaxation and relieving discomfort.

It is important to understand that drugs will rarely cure tinnitus; however, medications can be used to dampen the symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

For severe cases of tinnitus, your doctor may prescribe you tricyclic antidepressants.

These include amitriptyline and nortriptyline.

Persons with impaired hearing may be advised to wear hearing aids in an effort to mask the symptoms of tinnitus.

Tinnitus Prevention

To reduce the risk of tinnitus, doctors suggest a number of ways including avoiding possible irritants.

Possible irritants or risk factors for tinnitus include caffeine,, nicotine, and noise.

Doctors also suggest the need to manage an individual’s stress levels to reduce the risk of tinnitus.

Studies have shown that alcohol dilates one’s blood vessels and ultimately increases the force of blood as it flows in the inner ear.

Turbulent blood flow may lead to tinnitus and it is therefore advised that you reduce alcohol consumption to keep off such forms of the condition.

Taking regular exercises and finding time to relax helps prevent tinnitus.

Minimize your exposure to loud noises such as loud music (disco music), air traffic, or road noise.

Tinnitus Statistics & Facts

Tinnitus is characterized by noises heard in the ear or the head but not related to any external source or psychiatric condition.

In most of the cases of tinnitus, the patients find the symptoms uncomfortable and disturbing.

This condition is more prevalent in people aged 40 years and more, but the prevalence rate is slowly rising in young people due to the upsurge of personal stereos and iPods.

Tinnitus is not a cause of hearing loss but is more severe in persons with a hearing loss.

Tinnitus does not affect one’s hearing ability but only interferes with his attention span.

This is because the condition causes a lack of concentration.

An estimated 90 percent of persons diagnosed with tinnitus had a history with hearing loss.

Tinnitus may occur or appear as the earliest sign of a possible hearing loss.

Men are at a higher risk of tinnitus and hearing loss than women.

About 10 million people in the UK alone report some form of hearing loss.

About 2 million people in the UK alone use hearing aids.



Tinnitus Treatment Remedies plus




The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Tinnitus ?

Tinnitus is a physiological (physical) condition, characterized by noises, ringing or buzzing in the ear or in one’s head when in actual sense, no such extraneous physical noise is apparent.

The noise could be manifested as chirping, buzzing, hissing, ringing, swishing, or whistling sounds.

The noise which could be continuous or intermittent appears to spring up from the ear or head. Its loudness is nit constant but keeps on fluctuating from low to high.

The noise is more apparent when there is minimal background noise such as during the night.

Tinnitus is basically an auditory perception that is not connected or associated with an external sound.

Tinnitus Symptoms

A majority of persons diagnosed with tinnitus reported periodic ringing in the ears, or head. The sound heard is constant and internal.

Tinnitus patients complained of roaring, swishing, hissing, buzzing, and whizzing sounds which took long to improve.

It is important to note that the ringing noises experienced by persons with tinnitus fluctuate between low and high pitch.

The sounds could be registered as single tones, or as multi-tonal.

Tinnitus could also be constant (unremitting), pulsing or intermittent depending on the severity of tinnitus.

Tinnitus Causes

Tinnitus can be sparked off by anything likely to cause a fault in the hearing system.

Many persons diagnosed with tinnitus reported extended exposure to noisy environments at some point in their life.

About 90 percent of persons with tinnitus have also been diagnosed with some form of hearing loss induced by noise.

Studies have shown that such noises permanently damage the sound-sensitive structures of your cochlea.

Street-repair workers, pilots, rock musicians, landscapers, and carpenters are at a higher risk of tinnitus than persons working in quieter places.

Tinnitus Treatment

Treatment for tinnitus depends on the underlying cause of the symptoms reported by the patient.

If the cause for a patient’s tinnitus is earwax build-up, the doctor opts to remove the impacted earwax.

For persons whose symptoms of tinnitus are brought about by certain medications, the doctor may order a change in medication altogether or alter the dosage.

Noise generators are recommended for those patients with good hearing. These devises could be worn as personal stereos or used as stand alones.

These devices produce background noise often known as sounds of nature or ‘white noise’, with decibels just below those registered by tinnitus.



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