Nearly 50 million Americans experience problematic ringing or persistent sound in the ears, known as tinnitus. One in five people reports that this bothersome noise significantly impacts quality of life. Tinnitus can be intermittent or persistent, low frequency or high pitched whine, and nearly every frequency in between.
Long-term tinnitus is classified as a bothersome sound that has lasted over six months. As you seek diagnosis, seek an evaluation from an ear ringing doctor known as an ENT, or ear, nose, and throat specialist. Getting an accurate picture of what is happening internally will allow both you and your doctor to make informed decisions about care and treatment.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
It’s important to note that tinnitus is not classified as a disease, but as a symptom of what is happening inside the ear and brain as you perceive certain sounds and frequencies. You might experience the following symptoms associated with tinnitus:
- Intermittent roaring sounds in the ears
- Pulsing or beating noises
- Mild to moderate hearing loss
- Constant low or high-pitched ringing sounds in the ears
If you have any of the following problems associated with your hearing, seek the professional opinion of an ENT doctor for tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Primary tinnitus is a side effect of hearing loss, and little can be done to correct this condition other than to provide hearing amplification that will drown out background noise. Secondary tinnitus, however, is associated with specific underlying conditions, and it may be treatable. Your ENT tinnitus specialist will be able to help you determine which type of tinnitus you have, and what options are available to you.
Excessive ear wax pressing up against the ear drum can cause excess pressure, changing how the membrane vibrates when hearing a sound. This is a common cause of tinnitus.
Middle ear complications and infections can also cause tinnitus. Although uncommon, otosclerosis (hardening of the tiny bones inside the ears) can also cause this condition. Tiny sensory hairs present in the inner ear can sustain damage due to excessive noise, age, and even certain medications. All of these experiences can contribute to preliminary hearing loss and tinnitus.
Head trauma can change the way that the brain perceives and processes sound, causing the signals picked up by the ear to be ill-received. If you notice that your tinnitus has appeared suddenly as a result of head or neck trauma, see an ear ringing doctor as soon as possible for evaluation and diagnosis.
Although there is no hard and fast cure for tinnitus, several options exist that can help you cope with your hearing loss. If your doctor determines that your tinnitus has a specific cause, he may be able o offer specific protocols and treatments that reduce or even eliminate the noise. Some of these treatments include:
- Ear wax removal
- Treating ear infections
- Removing excess fluid from the ear canal
- Treating arthritis in the neck and shoulders
- Treating TMJ and associated symptoms
Other patients have experienced great relief through the use of hearing aids designed to include noise-reduction technology. Long-term effects on life experience can be improved through cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, and even meditation.
Seeing an ENT doctor for tinnitus diagnosis and treatment is the first step in being able to improve your quality of life and improve your hearing. At Southeastern Ear, Nose, Throat, and Sinus Center, we have a number of options for diagnosis and treatment that can significantly improve your hearing. We’ll work with you to determine the best treatment for you based on your life experience, present condition, and vision for your future health; our innovative tinnitus treatment protocols will provide you the relief you’ve been looking for. Contact us today for more information, and look forward to better health!
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