If you have a ringing sound in your ears that won’t go away, tinnitus could be the cause. This is an internal condition that only you can hear and can be distracting enough to affect your daily life.
It is so common that 15% – 20% of people are affected by it.
If you think that you or a loved one is affected by this debilitating condition, this article can give you great insight.
We will explain exactly what it is and what treatments are available.
Dr. Contrucci’s office is located in Pembroke Pines, serving all South Florida patients. He has over 30 years of experience as a Board-Certified Otolaryngologist. He and his team treat any condition of the ear, nose, throat, and sinuses.
The symptoms of tinnitus.
Tinnitus is best described as ringing in the ears. There are however many other sensations that can result from this condition. Other common complaints or sounds for those suffering from it can include:
- Waves Crashing
These noises can vary in volume from a bare whisper to being so loud you can barely function. It can affect one or both of your ears as well. They may vary in pitch, tone, and volume or be a steady sound. It can also come and go or be constant.
There are two types of tinnitus.
There are two forms of tinnitus that can occur in patients. The first is most common while the second is particularly rare.
This is the condition that most people suffer from. It is when only the patient can hear the noise. It is the perception of sound with the absence of an acoustic stimulus. This is the result of input in the auditory pathway being altered or disrupted.
This rare exception is where your doctor may actually be able to hear the same noises you are during an examination. Sounds are being generated in the middle ear by a physiological occurrence.
This sound typically occurs from the ebb and flow of blood vessels. It can also happen from muscle spasms in the middle ear, causing a clicking sound.
What are the causes of tinnitus?
There are numerous things that cause tinnitus, but you should know that sometimes the reason can never be determined.
The following are the most common reasons people suffer from both forms of tinnitus.
- Head and Neck Injuries Trauma to the head and neck most often create tinnitus in just one ear. This type of injury can result in affecting brain functions linked to hearing or damage to nerves associated with hearing.
- Hearing Loss This cause mainly affects older patients and people who are constantly exposed to loud sounds. There are delicate and tiny hairs in your inner ear that trigger electrical signals to your brain. This signal travels along a nerve from your ear to the part of your brain that interprets noise. When these hairs break or get bent, it can cause random signals to your brain causing tinnitus.
- Medications There are various drugs that can either cause or worsen tinnitus. Fortunately, the condition often ceases when you can stop taking the medication. Some drugs that treat cancer and depression can be to blame. Other drugs that can cause tinnitus can be anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimalarial, even diuretic.
- Ear infection or Blockage An ear infection can cause fluid to build up increasing the pressure in your ear. Other things like dirt, foreign matter, and earwax can have the same effect.
Know when you should see a doctor.
There are those who are afflicted with a mild form of tinnitus and are not bothered by it. More often than not, this condition is disruptive to one’s daily life requiring diagnosis and treatment.
You should make an appointment with an ENT specialist regardless of the severity of your condition. Over time, your tinnitus will likely worsen, and receiving treatments early on can help you deal with it.
If you recently suffered from a cold or upper respiratory infection and your tinnitus hasn’t left after a week, call your doctor. You should see your doctor right away if your condition is accompanied by hearing loss, dizziness, anxiety, depression, or loss of sleep.
Treatments for tinnitus.
Unfortunately, there is no scientifically proven cure for tinnitus. All treatments associated with this condition are meant to reduce the impact and severity of the illness. These solutions can offer a better quality of life while diminishing the severity of the condition.
Sound therapy is used to help the patient counteract their reaction to this problem. This is done by “masking” the sounds you are hearing.
Another treatment often used is behavioral therapy. This method addresses your reaction to the negative impact of the stimulus. By learning to control these negative emotions, you can begin to disassociate yourself from negative thoughts.
Hearing aids are used when loss of hearing is a result of the condition. While it will improve your ability to hear, it will not eliminate the condition.
We Can Help
Southeastern Ear, Nose, Throat, and Sinus is dedicated to serving South Florida patients. Make an appointment by clicking here or give us a call at (954) 437-5333. We now also offer telemedicine appointments.