What’s that Ringing in My Ear? Tinnitus

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Tinnitus is a fairly common medical condition characterized by the perception of a persistent ringing, buzzing, whistling or clicking sound in the ears. This annoying hearing sensation that persists with no external sound present affects approximately 15% of the general population. There is a great deal of misunderstanding concerning this condition; contrary to popular belief, Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom of another underlying medical or physical issue. Sufferers should consult an audiologist when the Tinnitus is bothersome, if it occurs suddenly without apparent cause, and/ or if it is accompanied by hearing loss or dizziness.

The symptom of Tinnitus are frequently age-related or the cause of noise-induced hearing loss. Tinnitus is most commonly a sensorineural reaction, in the brain, to any type of damage of the auditory system. Sensorineural essentially relates to aspects of sense perception that is mediated by the nerves, thus the brain interprets nerve signals as sound. There is a specific type of hearing loss called Sensorineural Hearing Loss, which is typically the result of damage to or disease of the inner ear or auditory nerve. Possible causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss include: exposure to loud noises or explosions; genetic hearing loss; trauma to the head; various illnesses; malformation of the inner ear; or natural aging process.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) shared on the causes of tinnitus. Unfortunately, we do not know the exact cause of tinnitus. One thing we do know is that you are not imagining it. If you have tinnitus, chances are the cause will remain a mystery.

Conditions that might cause tinnitus include the following:
-Hearing loss
-Ménière’s disease
-Loud noise exposure
-Head injury
-Drugs or medicines that are toxic to hearing
-High blood pressure
-A lot of wax in the ear
-Certain types of tumors
-Having a lot of caffeine
-Smoking cigarettes

You may find that your tinnitus is worse at night. This happens because it is quiet and you are not distracted. Feeling tired and stressed may make your tinnitus worse.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends an Audiologists help you manage your tinnitus.

What to do?
While there is no cure for Tinnitus, it can improve greatly with treatment. A full examination including diagnostic testing often determines the underlying cause of symptoms, and various treatments are available to alleviate the perception of tinnitus. Following an examination, the audiologist will recommend a personal treatment plan that may include special hearing aids, sound therapy or changes in diet and medications.

Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Sound Advice Hearing Doctors Springfield, 417.889.7500.