Tinnitus is a phenomenon that many people have experienced. It's usually described as ringing in the ears. Tinnitus is relatively common as it's experienced regularly by about 10% of people. This isn't a diagnosis but a symptom of another underlying condition.
Most of these conditions aren't serious but can cause degenerative problems with age. However, the symptoms can usually be treated by identifying and treating the condition, causing tinnitus in the first place.
Tinnitus can be characterized by a perception of hearing ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, humming, or other similar sounds that aren't present. Pitches can vary immensely, and it can be present in just one ear or both of them.
Some experience tinnitus at all times, but for most, it will come and go. The volume of tinnitus can vary quite a bit as well. For some, it can be so loud that it affects their ability to hear external sounds. In contrast, others may see it as a minor inconvenience.
There are Two Different Types of Tinnitus:
Subjective tinnitus is by far the most common and is characterized by being tinnitus that only you can hear. It can be caused by problems found almost anywhere in your ear.
A hearing care specialist can hear objective tinnitus during the examination. This rare symptom is typically a result of a blood vessel problem, middle ear bone condition, or muscle contractions.
As previously stated, many people have experienced tinnitus occasionally, which may be a result of exposure to loud noises or an earwax blockage. Common causes for those who experience tinnitus more regularly include inner ear hair cell damage, age-related hearing loss, and ear bone changes.
Less common causes of tinnitus can consist of Meniere's disease, temporomandibular joint disorders, injuries to the head or neck, acoustic neuroma, Eustachian tube dysfunction, and muscle spasms in the inner ear, and certain blood vessel disorders.
Some medications, including antidepressants, antibiotics, diuretics, quinine medications, cancer medications, and large doses of aspirin, have also been linked to increased tinnitus. Loud noise exposure, age, smoking, and cardiovascular issues can also be considered risk factors for tinnitus.
If you experience tinnitus regularly, experience hearing loss, have episodes of dizziness, or your tinnitus appears suddenly without an apparent cause, it's worth seeing a doctor to get checked out. It's also important to see a doctor if the tinnitus begins following an upper respiratory infection.
Leaving tinnitus untreated can lead to complications, including hearing loss, fatigue, increased stress, sleep problems, trouble concentrating, memory problems, depression, and anxiety. It's easier to avoid the additional risks and is in your best interest to get tinnitus checked if you're unsure.
Call Beltone of Northwest Florida today to speak to a hearing care specialist about your tinnitus. You'll also qualify for a free comprehensive hearing test. Get your tinnitus checked and stay up to date with your hearing care.