Tinnitus is a disease that affects the inner ear and can cause ringing, buzzing, humming, or other sounds. It is often a symptom of hearing loss and is most commonly associated with age, but an ear injury or other health condition can also cause it.
In addition to affecting the ears, Tinnitus can majorly impact your life. Sleep, concentration, and stress levels may be affected. Here we will discuss symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
Its symptoms range from mild and barely noticeable to severe and debilitating, which can reduce the quality of life. It is accompanied by a pitch, frequency, or loudness change and may be described as ringing, hissing, buzzing, chirping, whooshing, clicking, or roaring.
Most people experience these symptoms in one ear, but both ears are affected in some cases. The most common symptom is a ringing sound, which can be perceived as a constant and disturbing noise. In some instances, the pitch frequency of the sound may be elevated or slow. Often there is no pain or other discomfort.
In most people, Tinnitus is caused by hearing loss. But other causes, such as earwax buildup, excess cerumen, alcohol, and high blood pressure, have been known to be present that can result in Tinnitus. These conditions often occur together with hearing loss and must be considered to diagnose and treat Tinnitus properly. It has been known that there can be a secondary hearing problem that causes audio-type Tinnitus like otosclerosis or acoustic neuroma.
We will discuss treatment options commonly applied to help Tinnitus and hearing loss.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective forms of treatment for Tinnitus and involves understanding the mental and emotional triggers that contribute to the condition. This type of psychotherapy can be used with medications or on its own.
2. Acoustic neuroma
In some cases, small lesions or tumors can form in the inner ear or auditory nerve and cause Tinnitus. These are relatively rare causes, but they may require invasive surgery to correct or reduce symptoms. In this case, it is also very important to have a detailed audiological evaluation.
3. Brainstem Tumors
Brainstem tumors are more common than acoustic neuroma and can cause Tinnitus, hearing loss, facial paralysis, and trouble with balance. This type of tumor accounts for less than 5 percent of Tinnitus cases. It is advisable to have a detailed audiological evaluation and brainstem-sparing surgery for the best results.
Tinnitus can be debilitating and a source of distress for many. It is best to consult your doctor and develop an appropriate treatment plan. In addition to treating Tinnitus, certain dietary changes can help reduce the overall severity and frequency of symptoms.
Moreover, Tinnitus can be managed using a variety of different strategies. Many people have found simple changes to be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms. Avoiding excessive noise, not sleeping with your head on the pillow, and avoiding caffeine can all be helpful strategies. Stress reduction and relaxation exercises can also bring significant relief from Tinnitus symptoms.