Tinnitus is a health condition that affects up to 14 million people in the United States alone, or 17% of the population. While it is a condition that affects people from any age or gender, it is most commonly seen in individuals who are more mature.
This condition produces a constant noise in your ears. It can either affect one of them or both. In most cases, it affects just one of the ears. The noise can be heard as a form of buzzing sound, water flowing from a tap or other types of sound.
Although our ears are there to produce sound for us, the sounds that occur with tinnitus come from within the ear. These sounds are not caused by music, the TV or any other outside sources. It is safe to say the condition is very frustrating, although it is usually not serious.
Types of Tinnitus
There are many types of Tinnitus and Tonal Tinnitus is one of the most common types. It is better known as “ringing in the ears” and it produces a continuous sound, such as a note playing, over and over again. It is the most commonly experienced of the types of the condition. Most people with the condition will have this particular type.
Pulsatile tinnitus is another type of tinnitus that affects individuals. It produces sounds which are continuous, intermittent or pulsating. There is a type of tinnitus that affects both of the ears as well.
It is a less commonly experienced form of the condition that causes a beeping sound, sometimes like a Morse code type of deal, although this can vary greatly as well. There is also a rare type of tinnitus in which the affected person can hear the noises, but those around them as well.
What Causes Tinnitus?
For the most part, doctors are still perplexed by Tinnitus as well as the causes of Tinnitus. In many cases, it is never determined what actually causes the condition to develop. Below are a few of the most common conditions believed to cause the condition to form in most individuals.
One of the common causes of the tinnitus is inner cell damage. There are tiny and very delicate hairs in the inner ears. These hairs move in relation to the pressure of the sound waves. This trigger causes a release of electrical signals through a nerve from the ear to the brain. Your brain interrupts these signals, causing sounds to form. When the hairs inside the ear become bent or broken, they can leak impulses into the brain and result in tinnitus.
Tinnitus can also be caused by age related hearing loss, injuries that involve the brain or the ears, exposure to loud noises, earwax blockage, changes in the ear bone structure and some rare conditions including Meniere’s Disease, TMJ disorders, acoustic neuroma, head and neck injuries and others.
Sometimes, it is also possible for certain medications to cause the condition, including antibiotics, water pills, aspirin, cancer medications and quinine medications.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Along with the sounds that you hear within the ears, there are other symptoms that one can experience when they have the condition. Those symptoms include pain in the ear or ears, headache, sense of fullness within the ears and dizziness.
Should you experience the sounds within the ears and/or any of these symptoms, you should speak with a doctor as quickly as possible. While tinnitus is usually not considered to be dangerous, it can very well result in hearing loss if it is not taken care of as quickly as possible. There is no cure for the condition, although there are a number of different treatment options that are available.
What To Do If You Suspect Tinnitus
If you think that you are bothered by tinnitus, it is in your best interest to see a doctor as soon as possible. There are many different avenues that can be taken to treat the condition, including the use of a hearing aid, TRT treatment and others. Only your doctor can determine which treatment option is best suited for your needs. For most people it is TRT that works the best in the treatment of the condition, although this varies considerably.
You can also do a number of different natural, at-home remedies to help with the condition. These things include avoiding possible irritants by reducing exposure to loud noises and nicotine. You can also cover up the noise by using a fan, soft music and managing your stress.
It is also advisable to reduce the amount of alcohol that you are consuming. Alcohol increases the force of blood to the body which dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the ears.
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Last Updated 23 July 2013
1. Mayo Clinic (Accessed 23 July 2013)
2. American Tinnitus Association (Accessed 23 July 2013)