Hearing is what empowers us and helps us lead our day-to-day lives without any limitations; we can socialize, work, communicate and more. Hearing also helps us stay connected to the outside world and keeps us safe by warning us of potential danger. Therefore, it’s important to maintain the health of our ears. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to understand anything unless, of course, we learn to read hand signals. Regardless, there are some conditions which can affect our hearing, such as tinnitus. Tinnitus is signified by an abnormal noise in the ear. It can be very discomforting and annoying, so it’s important to know the causes, symptoms and treatments for the condition. If you want to learn these and more, keep reading this article!
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a hearing condition characterized by the perception of an annoying sound in the ear without the external presence of an actual sound. The term tinnitus actually means ringing in Latin. It can appear as a hissing, whistling, buzzing or humming sound. This sound can be persistent or periodic, become high or low in pitch and affect one or both ears.
While tinnitus is not in itself a disease, it can be an indication of an underlying condition which needs immediate attention. While tinnitus is associated with the ears, its real source is in the network of brain cells.
Types of Tinnitus
There are two kinds of tinnitus: the subjective and the objective tinnitus.
- Subjective Tinnitus: this type of tinnitus is more common. It is often associated with a sound that only the sufferer can hear and is often caused by damaged nerve cell.
- Objective Tinnitus: this type of tinnitus can actually be detected by an observer standing close to the sufferer or listening through a stethoscope. This particular type of tinnitus is generally related to vascular or muscular malady and only accounts for about 5% of tinnitus cases.
Tinnitus is a non-auditory and internal sound which has been described as clicking, whistling, chirping, screeching, roaring, static, hissing, whooshing, pulsing or even musical. The volume of the sound may fluctuate, but it is often most audible during the night or when your surroundings are very quiet.
Some afflictions, like the common cold or prolonged exposure to loud noises, may cause temporary tinnitus. While this is not a serious concern, here are some of the most common causes of tinnitus:
- Side effects of certain medications
- Pulsatile tinnitus
- Noisy environment
- Old age
- Inner ear damage
- Meniere’s disease
- Damage to the vestibulocochlear nerve
- Muscle spasms
- Blood flow
Aside from these, the condition may also be a consequence of health conditions like low or high blood pressure, sinus infections, hormonal imbalance in women, abnormal functioning of the thyroid gland and more. Don’t worry though, because this condition has various treatments. Not only are they effective, but they are also easy to do and easy to find.
Treatments for Tinnitus
Here are some of the most dynamic treatments for tinnitus:
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine: excessive consumption of these may lead to a much worse problem.
- Use relaxation techniques: doing relaxation techniques, like yoga and meditation, may help combat the condition.
- Garlic: this is one of the handiest treatments for tinnitus. It helps relieve the ringing sensation that comes with tinnitus.
- Music therapy: one interesting thing is that music itself may help treat tinnitus. If you listen to some calming soft music, especially that which is melodic in nature, you may relieve your symptoms.
- Avoid loud noises: exposing yourself to places that are too noisy is not good, and can lead to hearing damage over time.
- Acupuncture: this ancient approach to many ailments may be beneficial in treating tinnitus as well.
- Ear muffs or ear plugs: using these may help reduce the volume of anything that you hear, especially if you are at a construction site, concert or any other typically loud environment.