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Do You Suffer From Ringing In The Ear? | Amoils.com

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Millions of people both in America and worldwide suffer from tinnitus or head noises. This condition can vary from mild to severe but those who have an intermittent sound or a continuous noise in their ears may have trouble hearing, working or even sleeping. A severe case of tinnitus can impact on your quality of life but in milder cases, many people just put up with it and learn to live with this condition over time.

The word comes from the Latin tinnitus meaning “ringing”

It is the perception of sound within the ear but minus a corresponding external sound.

So what are the symptoms of tinnitus?

  • A ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, buzzing or tinkling noise in the ears - sometimes continuously, sometimes less frequently, sometimes just for a few minutes at a time.
  • These sounds come from within and not from your surroundings so nobody else can hear them.
  • Some people hear sounds that keep time with their heartbeat. Others hear sounds that keep pace with their breathing.
  • It may be an intermittent sound or an annoying continuous sound in one or both ears. Its pitch can go from a low roar to a high squeal or whine.

Tinnitus is more common in men than women and after the age of 40. About one in five between the ages of 55 and 65 will complain of the symptoms of tinnitus.

So what causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes:

  • The most common cause is noise induced hearing loss when abnormally loud sounds are heard in the ear canal for even the briefest time but usually over long periods.
  • Those in-the-ear headphones (where the sound enters directly into the ear canal without the opportunity of being deflected or absorbed elsewhere) are a common cause of tinnitus when the volume is set above moderate levels.
  • Side effects from medications can be another cause especially in the case of antibiotics or large amounts of aspirin.
  • Tinnitus may also be a symptom of other health problems, such as allergies, high or low blood pressure, tumors and problems in the heart, blood vessels, jaw and neck.
  • Tinnitus is frequently caused by a natural hearing impairment in ageing or as a side effect of genetic or congenital hearing loss.
  • Ear infections, foreign objects in the ear or eardrum rupture.
  • Nasal allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain or wax build-up.
  • Withdrawal from a benzodiazepine addiction.
  • A buildup of earwax.
  • Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
  • Dental or other problems affecting the mouth, such as temporomandibular problems.
  • Injuries, such as whiplash or a direct blow to the ear or head.
  • Injury to the inner ear following surgery or radiation therapy to the head or neck.
  • A rapid change in environmental pressure (barotrauma).
  • Severe or sudden weight loss from malnutrition or excessive dieting.
  • Repeated exercise with the neck in a hyper-extended position, such as when cycling.
  • Blood flow or vascular problems such as carotid atherosclerosis, AV malformations and high blood pressure or hypertension.
  • Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis or migraine headaches.
  • Other diseases can lead to tinnitus such as acoustic neuroma, anemia, labyrinthitis, otosclerosis or thyroid disease.

What is the long term prognosis and possible treatment for tinnitus?

There are two main types of tinnitus.

  • Pulsatile tinnitus which is often caused by sounds created by muscle movements near the ear, changes in the ear canal or vascular problems in the face or neck. The sounds heard could be your own pulse or the contractions of your muscles.

  • Nonpulsatile tinnitus which is caused by problems in the nerves involved with hearing when sounds can be heard in one or both ears and are often described as coming from inside the head.

Prior to any treatment, a thorough examination and evaluation by an audiologist and hearing specialist is given along with an explanation of tinnitus and its causes. When tinnitus comes and goes, it does not usually require any medical treatment. There is no cure for tinnitus, but someone with tinnitus can be assisted in learning how to live with the problem while making sure a more serious problem is not causing the symptoms.

Treatment will depend on the cause and may include hearing aids, sound-masking devices, medicines and ways to learn how to cope with the noise.