Tinnitus is defined by The American Tinnitus Association as the condition in which a person hears sounds that most often no one else can hear. It is a condition that seems to be related to age (most cases appear after the age of 50), and is much more common in men than in women. An estimated 50 million Americans have tinnitus; for some reason more of them in the South than other parts of the country.
Tinnitus can be of different types, and those who experience it may hear very different types of sounds. Most people with the condition hear sounds that no one else can hear; this type is referred to as Subjective tinnitus. Incredibly, there are circumstances in which a doctor or audiologist can detect these sounds upon examination, this is called Objective tinnitus. Other less common types of tinnitus include 1) hearing low-frequency sounds, often mistaken for being actual sounds in the environment, 2) pulsatile tinnitus, in which the person hears rhythmic beats in time with their pulse, and 3) musical hallucinations, or hearing music that is not really present.
The prevalent symptom of tinnitus is a ringing in one or both ears. This is often a continual high-pitched ringing that does not cease. This symptom may also be experienced as a buzzing, hissing, roaring, whistling, or clicking sound, one that can change in both pitch (frequency) and amplitude (loudness). If you have mild tinnitus, you might tend to notice it only in quiet environments, because the ambient sounds of noisy environments can mask the buzzing or ringing sounds. The position of the head can also make a difference; some tinnitus sufferers have reported symptoms intensify while lying down versus sitting or standing up. Although for most people tinnitus is more a nuisance than anything else, for some it has severe repercussions: they may suffer increased levels of stress, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Some tinnitus sufferers have complained that the condition made it more difficult for them to concentrate or sleep.
Our hearing specialists are here to diagnose and design a treatment plan for those suffering from tinnitus. This begins with an easy and painless hearing test and examination. Scheduling an appointment is highly recommended, because sometimes tinnitus can be an indicator of serious disease conditions such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and Meniere’s disease, or indicate more serious forms of hearing loss.