It’s difficult to describe tinnitus noise to people who have never experienced it. Phantom sounds that only the patients hear can range from loud, high-pitched squealing to soft whooshing noises. Yet tinnitus noise isn’t an ear problem; it’s a neurological condition that occurs in the brain.
Tinnitus on the brain
Tinnitus is a condition described by constant noises in one or both ears that only the patient hears, and that may go on for days, weeks, months, or years.
While your first instinct may be to get your ears checked, it’s more likely that persistent ear ringing, buzzing, or clacking noises are the result of a neurological disorder, caused by hypertension, medication overuse, noise-induced ear damage, or peripheral neuropathy.
Rarely, tinnitus may indicate a need for surgery; such is the case with pulsatile tinnitus that occurs with constricted arteries or blockage between the heart and brain.
Tinnitus noises vary
If you suspect you have tinnitus, then it’s important to see a doctor immediately, in order to rule out life-threating conditions, such as brain tumor.
He may ask you to describe the sounds you hear, including the pitch (high, low), volume (loud, soft), frequency, duration, and the extent to which tinnitus interferes with your ability to concentrate, relax, sleep, socialize, or enjoy music.
Tinnitus sounds vary with each patient; some typical descriptions include:
Tinnitus is very difficult to treat, as there are many factors that may cause tinnitus. Scientists have been unable to provide a full “cure” for tinnitus, but by reducing triggers that worsen tinnitus, you can effectively keep symptoms down to a minimum.
Stress is one of the most common triggers of tinnitus; many people notice that ear ringing gets louder when they’re nervous, stressed, or fatigued. To manage tinnitus, it’s important to practice relaxation, avoid stimulants, exercise, sleep well, and learn how to manage your time effectively.
Medications such as antidepressants, NSAIDs, and antibiotics can, over a prolonged period, result in chronic tinnitus. If tinnitus is unbearable, then you may speak to your doctor about switching medications or reducing your dosage.
Hypertension may be causing tinnitus, as constricted blood vessels interfere with proper blood circulation in the head. To treat tinnitus, try eliminating excess salt from your diet, while also taking vitamins and minerals that support cardiovascular health and good neurological functioning.
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