Before targeting the correct tinnitus help the sufferer needs to understand the ins and outs of the condition. Tinnitus is the perception of a constant noise, buzzing or ringing in the ears. It is a common problem which affects around 1 in every 5 individuals to varying degrees. Tinnitus is not a medical condition in itself, but is instead a symptom of an underlying condition. It can stem from, damage to the inner ear, age related hearing loss, or some kind of ear or circulatory disorder. The result … a ringing in the ears that’s often relentless.
Tinnitus may drive you mad but it is generally not a sign of something that is more serious. Even though it is a condition that can get worse over time and with age, it is possible to help treat the condition in various ways. If there is a specific underlying cause for the tinnitus, by treating this, the condition will sometimes alleviate itself. There are other treatment options available as well, which can help to make tinnitus a bit more manageable, and in certain cases, it can sometimes be completely treated.
The Causes Of Tinnitus
There are a number of conditions or age related problems that can cause tinnitus, but in many cases, there is no one specific reason that someone deals with the condition. Cell damage is one of the leading causes of this condition. The hairs inside your inner ear release sound pressure waves signalling nerves in the inner ear. If these hairs are damaged, bent, or broken, this can cause a leak of random impulses, which cause tinnitus. Chronic health conditions are also often associated with the condition.
With most cases, tinnitus is caused by:
– Age related hearing loss.
– Exposure to extremely loud music or sounds and noise.
– Earwax buildup and blockage or ear bone changes.
There are also other causes, which are not as common, but can lead to tinnitus; some of these include:
– Meniere’s disease (an inner ear disorder).
– Certain blood vessel disorders (including high blood pressure or turbulent blood flow).
– Certain medications (including antibiotics, cancer medications, diet pills, anti depressants, and certain aspirin based medications).
– Head and neck injuries can sometimes lead to the condition, and acoustic neuroma (benign tumors), which develop in the cranial nerve.
Symptoms associated with Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a condition that involves an annoying sensation that you are hearing sound, even though there are no external sounds that are present. Some of the symptoms, or “phantom” noises an individual might hear include:
– Ringing or buzzing in the ear.
– A noise that is similar to roaring.
– Clicking noises.
– Hissing is sometimes common with individuals that experience tinnitus as well.
The noises are going to vary from pitch, sound, and decibel levels, in every case. Depending on the severity, the sound can be extremely unbearable and very loud, making it difficult to concentrate or do certain tasks during the course of the day, because of the severity of the noises. It is a condition that may be present at all times, and with certain individuals it is something that comes and goes, which makes it far more manageable for these individuals to deal with the condition.
Two forms of Tinnitus
There are two different kinds of tinnitus that might affect the individuals that deal with this condition; they are:
– Subjective tinnitus.
– Objective tinnitus.
With subjective tinnitus, the sounds and noises are those that only you (the individual with the condition) can hear, and it is the most common type associated with individuals that have this condition. Ear problems that affect the inner and middle ear are generally the main factors that lead to this condition. It can also be caused by problems with the auditory nerves, or a part of the brain that interprets the nerve signals that are being sent to it.
The second kind, objective tinnitus (which is less common), is one that you can hear, but also your doctor can hear when they are doing the examination of your ears. This is a rare type of tinnitus, and one of the possible causes is a blood vessel problem in the ear. Certain muscle contractions and inner bone ear conditions are also common with this kind of tinnitus.
Treatments for Tinnitus
The first step in treatment, is to have your doctor determine the underlying condition for the condition you are dealing with. Depending on the underlying reason, there are different things a doctor might do, or suggest for patients to do.
Some of the treatments a doctor might suggest include:
– Earwax removal, from the affected area, can help decrease the amount or severity of the noises you hear.
– If a blood vessel condition is the reason, treating it through medication or surgery is sometimes the best solution.
– A change of medication (if your medication is the underlying cause of the tinnitus), is one of the many ways a doctor may choose to treat the condition as well.
In addition to this, there are noise suppression treatments that a doctor might suggest. Using noise reduction devices might be a way to reduce the sound you hear because of the tinnitus. Some options include:
– White noise machines, which are devices that produce noises and sounds that are similar to what you hear in the environment around you each day.
– Hearing aids or masking devices; and,
– Tinnitus retraining which is a device that delivers programmed music, in order to help lessen the noises you hear when you do hear them.
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There are no drugs or medications that can cure tinnitus. There are however, some that may be able to help reduce the noises that an individual hears. Certain anti depressants and medications that are used to treat nausea or drowsiness, are sometimes used by individuals, to help alleviate the noises, buzzing, and other sounds they hear, because of their tinnitus. Certain medications will require a prescription, but there are a few over the counter options that you can try as well, to cover up, or help reduce the noises heard in your ears.