Tinnitus is a condition described as a ringing in the ears, but it can also present as a clicking, hissing, buzzing, whistling or roaring. For some, tinnitus is a mild nuisance, but for others, it is like the bells at the The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception are constantly ringing in their head. It’s important to note that tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying disorder rather than a disease itself.
There Are Two Types of Tinnitus
Tinnitus may either be subjective or objective. Subjective tinnitus describes sounds heard in the head or ears that are perceivable only by the person who suffers from the condition. This type is usually caused by abnormal activity in the auditory cortex, which causes you to perceive a sound that’s not there.
Objective tinnitus is much rarer and describes sounds that can be heard both by the sufferer and other people, usually a doctor conducting an exam. This type of tinnitus is caused by the body, like the circulatory system or a muscle spasm near the middle ear. Another term for objective tinnitus is pulsatile tinnitus.
Prevalence of Tinnitus
Tinnitus may be heard in one or both ears and can affect anyone of any age, race or gender. Most people experience tinnitus at some point in their life – usually after exposure to loud noise – but about one in five have experienced a level of tinnitus that disrupts their daily living, causing them to seek treatment.
What Causes Tinnitus?
There are many conditions that have been linked to tinnitus, including:
- Hearing loss
- Acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor on the auditory nerve)
- Impacted earwax
- Use of medications like aspirin, diuretics and antibiotics
- Head trauma
- Middle ear infection
- Spasms of muscles within the ears
- Meniere’s disease
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Tinnitus has also been linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming caffeine.
How Is Tinnitus Treated?
There is no cure for tinnitus. Fortunately, there are many treatment options, including:
- Hearing aids
- Sound therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
If you experience subjective or objective tinnitus, there are ways to find relief. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Hearing Center of Lake Charles today.