Is it Normal to Have Occasional Tinnitus?

a woman with minor head discomfort

Many people experience an occasional ringing in their ears, but it does not mean that it will linger forever. These sounds may last only a few minutes. Ringing in the ears that is constant or gets louder over time may be known as tinnitus. You may hear a specific sound, such as a ringing, buzzing, vibrating or whistling. It is a sound that nobody else can hear. 

The sound could be similar to that of breathing, a heartbeat, or some type of buzzing that may be constant in your ear. It may change from time to time, but tinnitus is more common in men than women, however many women are still affected. tinnitus can be a short-term issue or may lead to a long-term problem, but it is often caused by exposure to loud sounds such as a concert or machinery. 

There are two main types of tinnitus:

  • Pulsatile tinnitus is caused by the muscles in the ear, and this can create a pulsating sound that resonates through the entire ear. 
  • Non-pulsatile tinnitus is caused by problems with the nerves and may also affect the middle and inner ear and can even cause types of vertigo and dizziness, but an MRI can rule out any inner ear issues or anything else. 

The most common cause of tinnitus is aging. However, it may be caused by living or working near loud noises such as heavy industrial machinery or any kind of loud music, if you work in a theatre or music venue for example. tinnitus can occur with all hearing loss types and could be a symptom of almost any hearing disorder. Other possible causes of tinnitus  include: 

  • Accumulation of earwax. 
  • Medications.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of coffee or alcohol. 
  • Ear infections or damage to the eardrums. 
  • Dental problems that may cause issues with the ear. 
  • Injuries, such as whiplash or a direct blow to the ear or head and can affect the nerves.
  • Damage to the ear from radiation or surgery. 
  • A change in the ambient pressure. 
  • Healthy weight loss due to malnutrition or extreme diet.
  • Repeated exercise with the neck in a hyperextended position, such as when riding a bicycle.
  • Blood flow which may occur more frequently with age, such as carotid atherosclerosis, arteriovenous abnormalities and high blood pressure.   
  • Nerve problems and types of migraine issues that may affect the middle and inner ear.

How to assist it?

Most types of tinnitus that come and go do not require medical treatment and will improve by themselves. You should see your doctor if your tinnitus occurs with other symptoms, does not improve or go away, or is just in the ear. There is not currently any cure for tinnitus, but your doctor can help you learn to live with the problem much easier. Surgery has no place in tinnitus’s treatment, and there is no drug treatment to date that eliminates or reduces tinnitus, although there are many drugs on the market that promise this. Treatment often leads to disappointing results and the belief that we cannot help the patient experiencing tinnitus has been established. However, this is not true. The purpose of treatment is to treat the stress associated with tinnitus. This can be achieved with proper patient education, relaxation and counseling. You should always seek help from a professional to understand the issues better.

Sound therapy

Psychoeducational counseling and sound therapy through hearing aids or special music production devices are the pinnacle of tinnitus restoration today. The purpose of sound therapy is to mask the tinnitus and reduce the patient’s reaction to it. Reduced response to tinnitus also causes reduced perception, thus building a positive cycle for dealing with them. This procedure can take several months and is known as tinnitus retraining therapy.

Cognitive therapy

This therapeutic approach is the most promising method for treating tinnitus. It helps by recognizing and modifying the patient’s negative thoughts and behaviors regarding Tinnitus. Patients usually avoid tinnitus by using sounds to cover them and make every effort not to think about them. These techniques rarely work. Trying to cover them prevents familiarity, and trying not to think about something usually leads to the opposite result. Cognitive therapy helps create positive, structured thinking in tinnitus patients, leading to less stress and therefore, less perception.

For more information on tinnitus and hearing issues, please refer to Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology or call us today at (661) 253-3277 to answer all your questions.