What is tinnitus and how can it be treated?
Tinnitus can be described as a ringing sound in the ears. However, it can also sound like clicking, hissing or roaring. It can be loud or soft, high pitch or low pitched. It could be heard in one or both of your ears. About 10% of Americans have experienced tinnitus for at least five minutes within the last year. This is nearly 25 million Americans.
What causes tinnitus
Tinnitus, also pronounced Tin-NY-tus and TIN-utus, is not a condition. Tinnitus is a sign that there is something wrong with the auditory system. This includes the ear, the auditory nervous that connects the inner and outer ears to the brain and the parts that process sound. Tinnitus can be caused by something as simple as a blockage of the ear canal by earwax. Tinnitus can also occur due to a variety of conditions such as:
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Sinus and ear infections
- Heart disease or diseases of the blood vessels
- Meniere’s Disease
- Brain tumors
- Women’s hormonal changes
- Thyroid disorders
Tinnitus can be a sign of hearing loss, especially in seniors. Tinnitus can also be caused by side effects of medication. Tinnitus can be caused by more than 200 medications.
Tinnitus can develop in people who work in noisy places, such as factories, construction workers, road crews, musicians, and other professionals. This happens when the constant exposure to noise damages the tiny sensory hair cells that transmit sound to the brain. Noise-induced hearing loss is also known as this.
Tinnitus can be a result of being exposed to blasts. The shock waves from the explosion can damage brain tissue and cause the skull to shatter. Tinnitus is a common service-related disability among veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan.
Pulsatile Tinnitus, a rare form of tinnitus, sounds like a rhythmic pulse in your ear. It is usually in sync with your heartbeat. You can have it listened to by a doctor by either pressing the stethoscope against the neck or inserting a microphone into your ear canal. Problems with blood flow to the neck or head are most common causes of this type of tinnitus. Brain tumors and abnormalities in the brain structure can also cause pulsatile tinnitus.
Tinnitus can occur for no apparent reason, even if there are many possible causes and conditions. Tinnitus is not usually a sign that there’s a serious medical condition. However, if it becomes louder or persists, it could cause depression, anxiety, fatigue, memory problems, memory loss, and other issues. Tinnitus can cause real mental and emotional distress for some.
Why is this noise bothering me?
Tinnitus can be heard in the ears. However, it is actually caused by the brain’s networks of cells (what scientists call neurocircuits). These cells make sense of the sounds that our ears hear. Tinnitus can be thought of as a condition that begins in the ear and continues to the brain.
Scientists are still unsure of what happens in the brain that creates the illusion of sound. Some believe that tinnitus may be similar to chronic pain syndrome. In this case, the pain persists after a fracture or wound has healed.
Tinnitus may be caused by the brain’s neural circuits adapting to the loss sensory hair cells. This could lead to an increase in sensitivity to sound. Tinnitus can be caused by an oversensitivity to loud noises.
Tinnitus could also be caused by imbalanced neural circuits. This happens when damage to the inner ear causes activity in the auditory cortex. This is the part of brain that processes sound. It could also be due to abnormal interactions between neural networks. The neural circuits that are involved in hearing don’t just process sound. They communicate with other parts, including the limbic region which regulates mood and emotions.
What can I do if my tinnitus is severe?
First, see your primary doctor to determine if any ear wax or other obstructions are present. To determine if there is an underlying condition, your doctor will ask about your health and medical history.
Your doctor may not be able to diagnose the cause of your ringing in your ears. An otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose and throat doctor or an ENT, can refer you. An ENT will examine your ears, ears, and neck to determine if you have tinnitus. An audiologist can assess your hearing and help you to manage your tinnitus.
What happens if the sounds in my ears don’t go away?
Some people find that their tinnitus doesn’t disappear or gets worse. It can become so severe that it is difficult to hear, focus, or sleep. Your doctor will work closely with you to find ways to reduce the impact of noise on your life and the severity of it.
Tinnitus is not usually a sign that you have a serious medical condition. If you have trouble hearing, sleeping, or working, talk to your primary care physician. Your doctor will likely examine your ears, then refer you to an audiologist or otolaryngologist.
If you experience facial paralysis, sudden loss of hearing, foul-smelling drainage or a pulsating sound that is in sync to your heartbeat, it’s best to call your local emergency department.
Tinnitus can cause severe distress for some people. You should immediately go to the emergency department if you think about suicide or your loved one.
Tinnitus can be a frustrating condition. It is a frustrating condition that has no easy explanation and no cure. There are many ways to improve your quality life. Both mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy are promising options.