People with tinnitus may hear a ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, buzzing or clicking sound with no external source. It’s common to experience tinnitus after exposure to loud sound, but for some there is no apparent reason for the sensation. Tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease itself, which mean there is no cure unless the underlying cause can be addressed. Fortunately, there are many management options available.
What Are the Two Types of Tinnitus?
There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective.
Subjective tinnitus describes sounds that are only perceived by the person with the condition. It is thought that this type of tinnitus, which is by far most common, is the result of abnormal nerve activity in the auditory cortex, causing you to perceive sound that isn’t there.
Objective tinnitus is sometimes known as pulsatile tinnitus. This type can actually be heard by others, usually the doctor performing the exam. This rare type may be the result of the circulatory system or muscle spasms in the middle ear.
What Causes Tinnitus?
As stated above, tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying disorder. Common conditions associated with tinnitus include:
- Hearing loss
- Acoustic neuroma
- Impacted earwax
- Certain medications, like aspirin, diuretics or antibiotics
- Head trauma
- Middle ear infections
- Meniere’s disease
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD)
- Alcohol/caffeine consumption
Prevalence of Tinnitus
Tinnitus may be present in one ear or both and range in severity from a mild nuisance to debilitating. Some report that their tinnitus feels like bells, such as those at Cathedral Guadalupe, are ringing in their head. Tinnitus can affect anyone of any age, gender or race. About one in five people experience tinnitus that is so debilitating they require treatment.
Treatment for Tinnitus
There are many options for managing your tinnitus:
- Hearing aids provide relief for many people, since turning up the sounds in your environment can help drown out the sounds of your tinnitus. Hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand in hand.
- Sound therapy involves playing sounds, either through a device worn on the ears or a machine somewhere in your environment, to help drown out the sounds of your tinnitus.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you manage your reaction to tinnitus so you have less feelings of frustration and anxiety.
- Acupuncture is an alternative method that one 2018 study showed to be effective for some patients with tinnitus.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.