The basic definition of tinnitus is hearing ringing or other sounds coming from within the ears. These noises occur even when there’s no other outside sound that could be responsible for it. Sounds heard can include ringing, whistling, buzzing, hissing, clicking or roaring sounds. It’s such a common disorder that it’s estimated that 1 in 5 people experience it at some point during their lives.
Tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying problem. Most of the time, the tinnitus symptoms are mild and don’t require treatment. However, when the noise is too much for the sufferer to bear, a doctor needs to be consulted. There are ways to treat tinnitus so that the sounds are reduced. Many times, the sounds can be completely eliminated simply by identifying the reason for them. Treatment can be adjusted to cure the noise.
There are rare cases of tinnitus that become more serious. When this happens, the person suffering from it has his, or her, hearing significantly reduced. This is when a doctor will definitely need to be called in to see if what the treatment options are.
When the inner ear experiences mild damage, tinnitus is often the result. The ear has tiny hairs that function as sound receivers for sound waves. These receivers send the message to the brain that sound was picked up and should be acknowledged. In this way, the sounds around us are heard and interpreted. If anything happens to damage these hairs, the messages they send will be random and may occur even when sound isn’t there.
Common causes of tinnitus include the common cold, sinus infections, working around loud noises, buildup of ear wax, getting older, and listening to loud music constantly. Sometimes medications can be the problem of tinnitus. All of these causes can be treated. Others can be prevented from occurring at all.
For example, if you work around loud machinery, rock concerts, or aircraft engines, you’ll be able to prevent tinnitus by simply protecting your ears. If your problem is coming from medication, discontinuing or lowering the dosage of the medication should solve the problem.
Tinnitus has two types:
1. Subjective tinnitus means noises that just you can hear. This type can come from problems in the inner, middle or outer ear. There can be issues with auditory nerves or that part of the brain that receives signals and turns them into sound.
2. Objective tinnitus means that the sounds produced can be heard by a doctor conducting the examination of the ears. That’s because the noises are brought on by a problem with the inner ear bone, muscular tissue or blood vessel.
Tinnitus typically happens to most people at least once during their lives. These attacks usually go away by themselves. When tinnitus strikes, it’s nearly always a symptom of something larger, which may, or may not, be cause for worry.
The symptom can be helped by locating and treating the disorder causing it. Therefore, the only way to deal with tinnitus is to locate the reason it has occurred.