Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of corresponding external sound. It is most often a subjective noise, meaning that only the person experiencing tinnitus can hear it. Many people describe it as a buzzing, ringing, static, screeching or roaring sensation. About 50 million Americans experience tinnitus. Most important to remember is that nearly everyone will experience ringing in their ears at one time in their life or another, but it can affect people differently. Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes. Recent advances have been made in helping the person affected by tinnitus.
Tinnitus may be caused by different parts of the hearing system. At times, for instance, it may be caused by excessive ear wax, especially if the wax touches the ear drum, causing pressure and changing how the ear drum vibrates. Other times, loose hair from the ear canal may come in contact with the ear drum and cause tinnitus.
Ear/ Sinus infections
Foreign objects or cerumen (wax) in the ear
Nose allergies which produce fluid drainage
Injuries to the head and neck
Certain disorders, such as hypo- or hypothroidism, lyme disease, fibromyalgia, and throacic outlet syndrome, can have tinnitus as a symptom. When tinnitus is a symptom of another disorder, treating the disorder can help alleviate the tinnitus.
Certain types of tumors – Very rarely, people have a benign and slow-growing tumor on their auditory, vestibular, or facial nerves. These tumors can cause tinnitus, deafness, facial paralysis, and loss of balance.
Treating Tinnitus requires extensive testing, and can include x-rays, audiological tests and other laboratory work, including MRI of the inner ear. Specific causes can be difficult to identify and treatment options vary depending upon test results. They may include:
After these steps are taken, results are discussed and recommendations are made for appropriate tinnitus management.
For additional information, visit the American Tinnitus Association website here >>