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Tinnitus

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is the perception of sound without an external source. This noise can be intermittent or continuous and may vary in severity. You can hear the buzzing or whistling in one or both ears. Tinnitus is not a disease in itself but is usually a side effect of an underlying health problem such as a circulatory system disorder, an ear infection or an injury to your ears. More than 50 million Americans are estimated to have experiences some degree of tinnitus. In most people it resolves itself over time; however, some may experience persistent and bothersome tinnitus that requires specialized treatment.

If you are looking for a dependable solution and treatment for tinnitus, call us now at 440-352-1474, schedule an appointment with an experienced doctor and find out more about your treatment options.

If you are showing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!

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Types of Tinnitus

Based on the underlying cause, tinnitus can be classified into two types:

  1. Primary Tinnitus: Many cases of tinnitus can be classified as Primary Tinnitus, where it is difficult to pinpoint any cause other than haring loss.
  2. Secondary Tinnitus: Many others are called Secondary Tinnitus, as they are associated with an underlying cause other than hearing loss.

Based on the nature of Tinnitus, it can be categorized in two types:

  1. Subjective Tinnitus: It is the head noise only you can hear. It is usually caused by problems in your outer, middle or inner ear. Cardiovascular disorders and malfunctioning auditory nerves may also contribute to it.
  2. Objective Tinnitus: This rare type of tinnitus can be heard by your Doctor in an ear-exam. The tangible sound may originate from muscle contractions that may be caused by blood vessel problems, or a middle ear bone condition.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Most common causes of subjective tinnitus are as follows:

  • Damage to the hearing portion of your brain can cause tinnitus among other problems
  • Trauma or damage to outer, middle or inner ear can cause a tinnitus onset
  • Excessive ear wax touching your ear drum and changing the way it vibrates can cause tinnitus
  • Middle ear infection (otitis media) can impact your hearing and trigger tinnitus
  • Damage and loss of the tiny hair cells in the inner ear caused by loud noises, medications or increasing age can lead to tinnitus
  • Otosclerosis or stiffening of the bones in your middle ear can impair your hearing and cause tinnitus

Some less common causes of tinnitus are as under:

  • Pulsatile tinnitus sounds like one’s heartbeat. This kind of tinnitus can be the result of a cardiovascular disease or a presence of a vascular tumor in the head, neck or the ear
  • An inner ear disorder called the Meniere’s disease can be responsible for your ears ringing
  • Problems with the joints on each side of your head called TMJ or temporomandibular joints can cause tinnitus as well
  • Muscle spasms of one of the two tiny muscles in the middle ear can result in intermittent objective tinnitus

What are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?

The most obvious sign of tinnitus is perception of sounds like buzzing, ringing, hissing, roaring, whistling, whooshing, screeching, crickets and static etc. The sound may be persistent or may come and go. You may experience tinnitus in one or both ears. Depending on the underlying cause, tinnitus may be accompanied with some other health problems.

What are the Risk Factors for Tinnitus?

Following factors can increase your chances of developing tinnitus:

  • Excessive and prolonged exposure to loud noises such as the ones originating from factory machines, musical instruments, and low-quality headphones etc
  • Old age
  • Smoking
  • Muscular stress and fatigue
  • Depression and anxiety
  • insomnia

When Should I see a Doctor?

Call an ENT specialist immediately if:

  • You are experiencing bothersome tinnitus in both ears
  • The noise is accompanied by sharp pain and drainage of fluid
  • Tinnitus is accompanied by dizziness

How is Tinnitus Diagnosed?

Following diagnostic procedures may be carried out by your doctor:

  • He/she may obtain your complete medical history and perform a thorough and targeted physical exam
  • If your tinnitus is unilateral a CT scan or an MRI scan may be needed
  • An audiogram (hearing test) can help your doctor asses the affects of tinnitus on your hearing
  • You doctor may ask many questions to ascertain the underlying cause and severity of your tinnitus. He/she may ask you to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire to better understand your condition.

How is Tinnitus Treated?

As there are many underlying causes of tinnitus the treatment may vary in each case.

  • If a specific cause is found, specific treatments like removal of excessive wax, treatment of infection, treatment of TMJ disorder etc may help
  • Sound therapy with the help of ear-level-maskers and background noise can help to better cope with tinnitus
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be prescribed to help improve the quality of life of an individual dealing with tinnitus

Tinnitus can negatively affect the quality of life and if left unchecked, can lead to serious complications. If you are showing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!