TINNITUS - Overview, Facts, Types&Symptoms, Medications and Others

TINNITUS

Tinnitus is an ear problem wherein the patient will hear ringing, buzzing or whistling sounds in the ears. This is not a severe condition and is not considered as a medical condition by itself. Instead, this is just a symptom of the underlying health condition of the ears. The underlying conditions may include ear damage, circulatory system disorders, and age-related hearing loss.

Tinnitus comes in two types: Subjective and Objective. Subjective tinnitus is the most common type of tinnitus, while objective Tinnitus is a rare type. Millions of people suffer from this ear problem. For some, it is just an annoying sound in the ears, but if left untreated, a person may have difficulty sleeping and concentrating. Thus, it might affect one’s function in responsibilities and relationships as well.

Commonly, tinnitus may be caused by the following:

  • Damage and loss of small sensory hair cells in the cochlea
  • Intake of drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antibiotics and diuretics
  • Head and neck injury
  • Traumatic head injury
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Eustachian tube problems
  • Foreign objects/earwax that touches the eardrums
  • Stiffening of the middle ear bones

Hearing phantom noises in the ears is the most common symptom of tinnitus. This includes roaring, buzzing, ringing, hissing, clicking and humming sounds inside the ears.

DIAGNOSIS

In the diagnosis of tinnitus, a thorough otologic exam may be done by a physician. The tympanic membrane and the external canal may be inspected for signs of cerumen impaction, infection or perforation. The cranial nerves should be examined to check brainstem damage or hearing loss. Further, auscultation in the neck, periauricular area, mastoid and orbits may be done.

Right after, testing for hearing loss or sensorineural will follow. The physician will make use of the Weber and Rinne test. The diagnostic test must also include audiometric assessment which includes audiography, speech discrimination testing, and tempanometry. Pitch masking, loudness matching, residual inhibition and minimum masking level are the other types of audiology measurements for tinnitus.

TREATMENT

Many drugs are associated with the treatment of Tinnitus. Some doctors may prescribe low doses of anti-anxiety medications. A steroid is placed in the middle ear together with an anti-anxiety medication that may be effective for this condition.

However, prevention is better than cure. As this problem can be prevented, a person may do any of the following:

  • Turn down the volume.

Since Tinnitus may be brought about by extreme exposure to loud sounds without any protective equipment in the ears, this measure may be beneficial. It helps hearing loss and the occurrence of Tinnitus.

  • Use of hearing protection

For ear protection, everyone is encouraged to wear any ear protective equipment if you are working in the field with more exposure to loud sounds.

  • Caring for your cardiovascular health

Being linked to blood vessel disorders, this condition may be prevented if you eat right, exercise regularly and do related activities that promote healthy blood vessels.

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