Are Your Ears Ringing?
By Maria E. Sakellarides, AuD
Advanced Hearing Health Care
Are Your Ears Ringing?
Tinnitus often simply referred to as ringing-in-the-ears or head noises is a sound heard by one or both ears that is described by different people in various ways. To some it is a high-pitched ringing, whining, or hissing sound, and to others it may be a low roaring noise. Tinnitus can be very mild, noticeable only in a quiet room, and it can become so loud and annoying that the person hears nothing else. It can be persistent, intermittent, or throbbing, depending on the cause. Some 50 million adults suffer from tinnitus. For 12 million, the problem is so severe they are incapacitated. While tinnitus does not cause hearing disorders, it may accompany decreased hearing and other ear symptoms such as pressure, unsteadiness, or dizziness. Often, it occurs alone.
Some of the Main Causes Are
Wax buildup or obstructions in the outer ear canal.
Middle ear system Perforation in the eardrum, fluid accumulation, otosclerosis (fixation of the three little bones) or ear infections.
Inner ear system Presbycusis (hearing loss due to aging), labyrinthitis (inner ear infection), Menieres disease(hearing loss and dizziness).
Exposure to a sudden loud noise or repeated exposure to noise without adequate protection.
Trauma to the head or neck as in a concussion or whiplash injury.
High or low blood pressure and anemia
Treatment of Tinnitus
There is no known cure for most tinnitus, however, there are treatments available. Most medications and surgical procedures have not been successful in relieving tinnitus. Because of the direct association between the hearing mechanism and the nervous system, tinnitus sufferers have been advised to avoid nervous tension, fatigue, and stimulants. Sedatives, biofeedback, and other relaxation techniques may offer some people temporary relief. Hearing aids are one of the most effective tools for providing relief from tinnitus. Another successful approach has been tinnitus “maskers” (mask the ringing sound with other sounds as a means of distracting the individuals concentration on tinnitus). Other worthwhile treatments to explore are cognitive therapy and tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT).
Because tinnitus may be symptomatic of a more serious disorder, it is important to try and find the cause before treating the tinnitus.
If you or someone you know suffers from tinnitus, consult an audiologist who is trained to diagnose and treat many of the problems associated with tinnitus. If it is related to a condition that requires medical or surgical management then consult an otolaryngologist (ear nose and throat doctor).
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