Tinnitus

Tinnitus (Ringing In The Ears)

Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Some of the more common sounds reported are ringing, humming, buzzing, or cricket-like. It can be constant or intermittent and is heard in one ear, both ears, or in the head. Tinnitus can originate in the middle ear (behind the eardrum) or in the inner ear (cochlea), which can also be referred to as sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, happens after inner ear damage occurs. Problems with the nerve pathways from your inner ear to your brain can also cause SNHL. Soft sounds may be hard to hear. Even louder sounds may be unclear or may sound muffled.


The Most Common Causes Are:


Noise exposure (e.g. from shooting or machines at work)

A natural part of the aging process

Head injury (e.g. from a car accident or fall)

As a side effect of medications (e.g. aspirin — see ototoxic drugs)


It is important to keep in mind that tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. As such, the optimal treatment strategy should be directed toward eliminating the disease, rather than simply alleviating the symptom. Also, because tinnitus may be symptomatic of a more serious disorder, it is important to try to find the medical cause before deciding on treatment.


Preventing and Minimizing Tinnitus

Here are a few things you can do to help prevent and minimize tinnitus:

Reduce exposure to extremely loud noise

Avoid total silence

Decrease salt intake

Monitor your blood pressure

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine

Exercise

Reduce fatigue

Manage stress

Educate yourself


While there is no known cure for most forms of tinnitus, these are several management options available. Most tinnitus sufferers can find varying degrees of relief from one or a combination of the above.


Medications

There is no medication or herbal supplement medically proven to alleviate tinnitus symptoms. Some antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are helpful for certain tinnitus patients, however, more research is needed in this area. We recommend scheduling an appointment with us—we can evaluate your tinnitus and make recommendations for possible steps forward to hearing health. Give us a shout today!


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