TINNITUS – How and Why?
I Sometimes Hear Ringing in My Ears. Is this Unusual?
Ringing, buzzing, roaring sounds in the ear is called as Tinnitus. It does not occur usually. Tinnitus is the ringing in the ears, and they are very common. Tinnitus may come and go, or one may be aware of a continuous sound. It can vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal or whine, and one may hear it in one or both ears. When the ringing is constant, it can be annoying and distracting. Some people are affected so severely that they cannot lead normal lives.
Can other people hear the noise in my ears?
Not usually, but sometimes they are able to hear a certain type of tinnitus. This is called “objective tinnitus,” and it is caused either by abnormalities in blood vessels around the outside of the ear or by muscle spasms, which may sound like clicks or crackling inside the middle ear.
Common for all ages:
- Most tinnitus originates from damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. The health of these nerve endings is important for acute hearing, and injury to them brings on hearing loss and often tinnitus.
- If you are older, advancing age is generally accompanied by a certain amount of hearing nerve impairment and tinnitus.
- If you are younger, exposure to loud noise is probably the cause of tinnitus, and often damages hearing as well.
Causes of tinnitus:
Some noises you hear come from causes which are not serious (a small plug of wax in the ear canal might cause temporary tinnitus).
It can also be symptom of a more serious ear middle ear problems such as infection, a hole in the eardrum, an accumulation of fluid, or stiffening (OTO or Tympano sclerosis) of the tympanic membrane and middle year.
It is caused by allergy like high or low blood pressure, a tumor, diabetes, thyroid problems, and injury to the head or neck.
It may also be caused by medication such as anti- inflammatory, antibiotics, sedatives/antidepressants and aspirin.
Recent onset tinnitus can be treated with intratympanic treatment .If the noise was there for more than 30 days then the tinnitus specific drug carvorane can be tried.we prefer to give it as an intravenous infusion ,a day care procedure in hospital. Patients with otosclerosis with tinnitus may benefit with biphosphates which are used in osteoporosis. In most cases, there is no specific treatment for ear and head noise. If the otolaryngologist finds a specific cause of tinnitus, he or she may be able to eliminate the noise. But, this determination may require extensive testing including X-rays, balance tests, and laboratory work.
However, most causes cannot be identified. Occasionally, medicine may help the noise. The medications used are varied, and several may be tried to see if they help.
The following list of do’s and don’ts can help lessen the severity of tinnitus:
- Avoid exposure to loud sounds and noises.
- Get your blood pressure checked. If it is high, get a doctor’s help to control it.
- Decrease your intake of salt. Salt impairs blood circulation.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola, and tobacco.
- Exercise daily to improve your circulation.
- Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
- Stop worrying about the noise. Recognize head noise as an annoyance and learn to ignore it as much as possible.
What Can Help Me Cope?
Concentration and relaxation exercises can help to control muscle groups and circulation throughout the body. The increased relaxation and circulation achieved by these exercises can reduce the intensity of tinnitus in some.
Masking: It is usually more bothersome in quiet surroundings. A competing sound at a constant low level, such as a ticking clock or radio static (white noise), may mask the tinnitus and make it less noticeable. Products that generate white noise are also available through catalogs and specialty stores. Some patients have created noise generation when they sleep by placing a stiff paper board fixed to touch the revolving blades of a table fan.
Hearing Aids: When there is a hearing loss, a hearing aids may reduce head noise while wearing it and sometimes cause it to go away temporarily. It is important not to set the hearing aid at excessively loud levels, as this can worsen the tinnitus in some cases. However, a thorough trial before purchase of a hearing aid is advisable if primary purpose is the relief of tinnitus.
Tinnitus maskers can be combined within hearing aids. They emit a competitive but pleasant sound that can distract the head noise. Some people find that a tinnitus masker may even suppress the head noise for several hours after it is used, but this is not true for all users.
Prior to any treatment of tinnitus or head noise, it is important to have a thorough examination and evaluation by an otolaryngologist. An essential part of treatment will be your understanding of tinnitus and its causes.