We use the sense of hearing very often that we sometimes put much attention. However, when something goes wrong, hearing problems gets impossible to ignore. Tinnitus appears as one such problem. Before you fully understand how to stop tinnitus in check, one must know few things about this hearing condition.
With the huge volume of medical articles available today, knowing the difference between reliable and suspect information seems difficult. For this article, we reviewed dozens of articles about tinnitus. Not only did we seek information from physicians and audiologists, but we considered experiences of patients who suffer from the hearing condition.
What Is Tinnitus?
Simply, tinnitus occurs as a ringing in the ears. Ringing becomes the most common indicator of tinnitus. On the other hand, some patients report hearing chirping, hissing, whistling, grinding, humming or buzzing sounds. The condition is not a disease. On the contrary, it is the symptom of another condition.
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Tinnitus surface either subjective or objective. Subjective tinnitus comes as the most common form of the condition. With this type, individuals hear sounds that no one else does. With objective tinnitus, though, doctors or audiologists often hear the ringing sound with the use of audiological equipment.
How Tinnitus Appears Common?
Tinnitus implies a common hearing condition. In fact, most people experience tinnitus at least once during their lifetimes. For many, though, it happens a brief announce. Other individuals experience severe cases of tinnitus. For these patients, ringing lasts weeks, months or years.
How Serious Should You be Stop Tinnitus?
By itself, tinnitus lasts not a serious condition. It may, however, signify a serious disease or hearing condition. Moreover, those who suffer from a serious case of tinnitus often experience significant consequences. Individuals report difficulty sleeping and concentrating. Some say the condition interferes with personal and professional relationships. As such, tinnitus contributes to serious mental-health conditions. In extreme cases, individuals contemplate or commit suicide because of the condition.
What Causes Tinnitus?
ven though millions of people suffer from tinnitus, medical professionals don’t agree on what causes the condition. Generally, though, doctors believe tinnitus is related to hearing loss. When an individual begins to lose his or her hearing abilities, the brain fills in the gaps. The result is a persistent noise that drives sufferers crazy.
As many as 90 percents of tinnitus sufferers have some type of hearing loss. Most have been exposed to a sudden loud noise or a continuously loud environment. Hearing loss isn’t the only possible cause of tinnitus, though. The following may cause an individual to experience the condition:
Again, the medical community isn’t unified behind one cause of tinnitus. Often, a combination of factors causes a person to develop the condition. If it doesn’t subside on its own within a short time, individuals often seek medical attention.
Some Risk Factors
While individuals from all walks of life occasionally experience this, the condition does have some risk factors. The biggest of these is exposure to loud noises. If you work in a noisy environment, listen to loud music or otherwise expose your ears to excessive noise, you are probably at increased risk of developing it.
Age is another risk enhancer. Doctors believe cardiovascular disease and hearing loss are primary contributors to tinnitus. Since these maladies often target older individuals, you may develop it or experience it more frequently as you age. Moreover, men are almost twice as likely to hear ringing in their ears than women. This may be because men tend to expose their ears to loud noises more than women do.
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Likewise, if you smoke, you are at increased risk. Smoking interrupts blood supply and circulation. Because a steady supply of oxygenated blood is essential for the ear to function optimally, quitting smoking may decrease your odds of developing tinnitus.
Effects of Your Medications
When conducting an examination, your doctor attempts to rule out disease and hearing loss as potential causes of tinnitus. The culprit, though, may be one of the medications you take. The following types of pharmaceuticals often contribute to the development of tinnitus:
- Some antidepressants
- Cancer drugs
- Quinine medications
While these are broad categories of medications, each type may worsen the effects of tinnitus. For tinnitus with seemingly no underlying cause, doctors may recommend you switch certain medications.
Since tinnitus is common, many individuals choose to wait it out. That makes sense, as for most, the condition subsides in a few hours or a couple days. If tinnitus doesn’t go away, scheduling an appointment with a healthcare professional makes sense. There are some other situations, though, when seeing a doctor is important.
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First, tinnitus generally appears in both ears simultaneously. If your tinnitus is confined to one ear, you may have an ear infection or other serious condition. Likewise, if the sound seems to pulsate, you shouldn’t wait to see a doctor. Finally, if you no longer hear as well as you should, visiting an audiologist or ear, nose and throat specialist is often an effective way to manage tinnitus and improve hearing.
Since tinnitus is a general ringing in the ears, diagnosing it is not difficult. Usually, doctors rely on a patient’s recounting of symptoms to make a diagnosis. They usually don’t stop there, though.
When you visit your doctor, expect him or her to conduct a full examination. During the procedure, your physician should look inside your ears. This examination is usually sufficient to determine if your tinnitus comes from buildup or an ear infection. If those aren’t the cause of your tinnitus, your doctor may ask you to undergo a hearing test. If that test reveals you have hearing loss, your physician may attribute your tinnitus to it. He or she may then refer you to a specialist or recommend a hearing aid.
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How Do Doctors Treat Tinnitus?
Because tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition, there is no direct cure for it. Instead, doctors work on treating the primary ailment. If you have an ear infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. Surgery may also help open the eustachian tubes inside the ear. If these are infected, alleviating swelling may cause tinnitus to resolve naturally.
Several drug makers are looking for a pill to stop tinnitus. Currently, though, there is no such pill. Still, some herbal retailers recommend taking supplements to help end tinnitus. It is important to note, however, that no scientific studies have proven the efficacy of herbal supplements. In fact, they are no more effective than a placebo at providing relief to tinnitus sufferers.
While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are some things you can do to find respite. The most obvious of these is addressing hearing loss. If your brain is making up sounds that aren’t there in an attempt to compensate for reduced hearing abilities, you should consider investing in a hearing aid. For most patients, using hearing aids to amplify sounds causes tinnitus to quickly subside.
Can Ear Wax Removal Stop Tinnitus?
As mentioned, tinnitus doesn’t have an exact cause. While medications, hearing loss, stress, head trauma and other causes can contribute to the development of the condition, you must rule out each cause to know how best to proceed. If a buildup of ear wax is the culprit, which is possible, clearing ear wax generally relieves symptoms.
Removing ear wax buildup is not as easy as it sounds. Patients often cause more harm than good when they attempt to clear ear wax without professional help. While over-the-counter ear wax removal kits can be successful, you must be careful when using them. Certainly, you should never insert a cotton swab into your ear canal. Instead, schedule an appointment with your doctor to learn how to safely and effectively remove ear wax.
General practitioners often lack the equipment to remove large wax buildups. If your tinnitus is due to an excessive amount of ear wax in the ear canal, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. These professionals have scopes, vacuums and other tools to help them clear huge masses of ear wax.
Final Thoughts About Tinnitus
Tinnitus is one of the most frustrating ear conditions. Even though you have real symptoms, your doctor may have difficulty treating them. Fortunately, all medical providers know enough about the workings of the human ear to treat underlying medical conditions that may cause tinnitus to develop.
Because the most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss, you should consider purchasing a hearing aid after your physician has checked for underlying infections and disorders. Remember, though, not all hearing aids are created equally. To get the most out of yours, you must work with a specialist who understands how to treat hearing loss. Expect to attend a few appointments to create your hearing profile. Then, plan to sit through some hearing aid fittings and tests to be certain your new devices are best serving your hearing needs.