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Different Types Of Tinnitus

The Different Types Of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition that occurs when inner ear sounds happen on a regular or recurring basis. It often presents as a ringing in the ear. Besides ringing, these sounds could include buzzing, whooshing, or other sounds. You can hear these sounds in one or both ears. Tinnitus has four main classifications and even more subtypes. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of tinnitus.

Subjective

Often caused by exposure to loud sounds or noises, this is the most common form of tinnitus. For some, this form of the condition may be temporary and go away completely after a few months. But, it can also be more long-term or permanent.

Objective

This is a rare form of tinnitus. This is usually caused by vascular deformities or involuntary muscle contractions. It's unique in that the sounds heard by the affected individual can also occur outside of the ear. It usually goes away once you treat the actual cause.

Neurological

An inner ear disorder, Meniere’s disease, is a possible cause of neurological tinnitus. It's generally caused by some type of underlying condition. This condition affects the auditory system and related functions in the brain.

Somatic

This type of tinnitus often has a mechanical source. This tinnitus can come from issues such as muscle spasms in the neck or ear. It's triggered by sensory input from muscles and usually associated with physical movements. Some people with this notice inner ear sounds when making certain jaw motions.

Common Subtypes

  • Subjective or noise-induced tinnitus has two subtypes: tonal and complex. Tonal tinnitus results in overlapping sounds. The complex variation is more of a mix of inner ear noises. Other subtypes and variations associated with tinnitus include:
  • Low-frequency: In this case, it's difficult to tell if the sounds are internal or external.
  • Pulsatile: This variation has a rhythmic pattern rather than the classic "ringing" sound. The rhythmic noises are often timed to your heartbeat.
  • Musical: This is more common in people who also have hearing loss. This is also referred to as auditory imagery and refers to inner ear sounds that come together to form a melody.

Diagnosing and Treating Tinnitus

If you're hearing inner ear ringing or other internal sounds, it's best to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. An audiologist performs tests to rule out other possibilities. They will also put together a treatment plan tailored to unique patient-specific factors. Common treatments and symptom management options include:

  • Earwax removal
  • Masking devices
  • Noise suppression techniques or biofeedback
  • Cognitive behavioral or retraining therapy
  • Medication to treat accompanying conditions such as stress and anxiety
  • Adjusted hearing aids

Call Us Today

Have you noticed inner ear ringing or other signs of tinnitus? The first step to take, as we mentioned above, is to get a positive diagnosis from an audiologist. If you have tinnitus, visit a hearing specialist from Beltone of Northwest Florida. We may find that hearing aids may be beneficial for you. In fact, some newer models come with settings to help with tinnitus. Contact today to set up an appointment with one of our hearing care specialists.