Tinnitus isn’t a hearing problem…well, not exactly. There are so many factors that can cause ear ringing from tinnitus, that it can be difficult to understand exactly how you got it in the first place.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition that causes sufferers to experience a steady stream of noise in one or both ears that persists for days, months, or years. Tinnitus sounds may vary in volume, type, and pitch.
Patients often describe tinnitus noises as ringing, whistling, whooshing, chirping, thumping, hissing, or clicking sounds that remain constant, day and night.
For some, severe chronic tinnitus makes it difficult to sleep the night through, concentrate on work, or enjoy any moments of quietude. Depression and anxiety are often comorbid when tinnitus symptoms are very loud and long-lasting.
What causes tinnitus?
Usually, tinnitus is a neurological problem, resulting from damage to the nerve cells of the inner ear. Such is the case with nonobjective tinnitus that your doctor cannot hear through a listening device.
Nerve damage causing tinnitus may result from listening to dangerously loud music, witnessing an explosion in close proximity, puncturing the eardrum, medication overuse, or working in an acoustically unsafe environment.
In rare cases, tinnitus ear ringing, whooshing, or pounding sounds may result from a blocked blood vessel or a malformation of the skull around your temple region.
If your doctor is able to hear signs of objective tinnitus from pulsatile tinnitus or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, then he may be able to suggest a surgical procedure to correct the deformity and end tinnitus.
To manage tinnitus, experts recommend a combination of helpful therapies.
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) uses constant “white noise” to shush tinnitus sounds into the background.
Relaxation therapy or hypnosis sometimes helps to reduce stress and anxiety symptoms that trigger tinnitus.
Restrictive dieting is a good way to control ototoxic reactions to food ingredients, such as salt, imitation food colorings, and caffeine.
Natural supplements also help to sustain neurological health in nerve cells responsible for hearing and processing sounds.
Acoustic Trauma Tinnitus or hearing loss caused by a single loud blast or explosion
Barotrauma Damage to the ear caused by sudden abnormal air or water pressure in the outer, middle, or inner ear (cochlea), often occurs in scuba diving or other water sports
Bilateral Tinnitus Tinnitus that occurs in both the right and left ears
Objective Tinnitus Sounds in the ears that the patient and others can hear, with or without listening devices
Ototoxic Medications and other chemicals that are poisonous to the ears and over an extended period may cause tinnitus and hearing loss
Pulsatile tinnitus Pulsing, thumping, or whooshing sounds that are in sync with your heartbeat but experienced in your ears or whole head, often resulting from blocked blood vessels near the ears
Tinnitus The perception of sound in the ears or head in the absence of any real external source
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