Symptoms and Causes of Tinnitus

a woman experiencing slight ear discomfort

Tinnitus is known as the perception of hearing ringing or buzzing in the ears. It’s not even a condition itself; rather it’s a symptom of an underlying condition. Those with tinnitus may hear a ringing, buzzing, humming or sometimes even a clicking noise. This sound doesn’t come from anywhere, and nobody else can hear it if you ask.

This is known as an auditory illusion, and it can sometimes keep up with the pace of your breathing or your heartbeat. Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant; however, both can be detrimental to your quality of life.

The types of tinnitus

There are two common types of tinnitus, pulsatile and non-pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is caused by the sounds that the muscle movement creates near the ear. This can also include blood flow and changes in the ear canal. With pulsatile tinnitus, you may be able to hear sounds like your own pulse, breathing, or muscle contractions. The other type of tinnitus is known as non-pulsatile tinnitus. Problems in the nerve cause this. You may be able to hear the sound from one or both of the ears. Many patients will describe the sounds coming from inside their heads.

There are two other types of tinnitus: pulsatile and non-pulsatile. There is subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. Objective tinnitus is very rare as a problem with the blood vessels causes it. This tends to signify that a middle ear bone condition may exist. Objective tinnitus is a type of tinnitus that an audiologist will be able to hear, this type of tinnitus is not an auditory illusion. Subjective tinnitus, on the other hand, is an auditory illusion that only you can hear. This is the more common form of tinnitus.

Is it normal to have occasional tinnitus?

It is very normal to have occasional tinnitus. Sometimes people will experience an occasional ringing or other sounds in their ear. This can last for just a few minutes. Sometimes it can last for a little longer, such as twenty-four hours. It’s normal for ringing to last this long. Once it lasts for longer than one week, you’ll need to see an audiologist so the underlying reason for the tinnitus can be figured out.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

There are several reasons why tinnitus would occur. The most common reason is being exposed to loud sounds such as being on a construction site, concert, bar, sports games, movie theater, or even having your headphones up too high. Your auditory and dental health can have an impact on the severity of your tinnitus, from jaw problems to exposure to loud noise.

Head injuries such as a concussion or even whiplash are known for causing tinnitus. Certain medications have tinnitus marked as a symptom. Constant consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco have also been linked to causing tinnitus. There are other reasons why it may occur too such as tumors or certain diseases.

As people get older, their hearing tends to fade. Due to age-related hearing loss, tinnitus will become far more common. Age-related hearing loss will usually happen around the age of 60 but can occur a little bit earlier and later in life, as well. Tinnitus isn’t something to completely be alarmed about, especially if you’ve been around loud sounds or you’re within your 60s. But if you are concerned, you can always see an audiologist. They will be able to help you in finding the underlying reason and give you a treatment plan.

How can tinnitus be treated?

While there isn’t a cure for tinnitus because it’s only a symptom of some other medical issue, there are treatments for tinnitus. Tinnitus will often go away by itself, or some patients will grow to ignore the noise. But it’s important to recognize that not everyone can easily just ignore it. When you visit an audiologist, they will help you out by assessing the possible cause.

Sometimes their underlying cause cannot be found, even through a series of tests as well as checking your ear canal for built-up wax. The audiologist will instead ask about your lifestyle habits and ask about what medication you take. This can also include wearing a hearing aid to mask out the sound of tinnitus or even having regular sound therapy sessions.

Tinnitus is completely normal, and it’s normal for it to happen occasionally. If it remains constant, then it’s best to seek help from an audiologist. You can learn more about Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology by calling (661) 250-6781.