The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) describes tinnitus as “the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present.”
This condition is extremely common and, according to the ATA, more than 50 million people suffer from some form of tinnitus.
More than 99% of those people suffer from Subjective Tinnitus, which the ATA defines as “head or ear noises that are perceivable only to the specific patient”. The other type, objective tinnitus, is “head or ear noises that are audible to other people, as well as the patient,” and is experienced by less than 1% of total tinnitus cases.
What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
While most people who have experienced tinnitus describe it as a “ringing in the ears”, there are a variety of sounds that can be perceived, which the ATA categorizes into three groups:
- Tonal Tinnitus: near-continuous sound
- Pulsatile Tinnitus: pulsing sounds, often in-beat with heartbeat
- Musical Tinnitus: music or singing (very rare)
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of conditions or illnesses. The ATA explains, “While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, there are roughly 200 different health disorders that can generate tinnitus as a symptom.”
Some of the more common causes associated with tinnitus include:
- Noise-induced hearing loss and age-related hearing loss (presbycusis)
- Ototoxic medications
- Hearing conditions (otosclerosis and Ménière’s disease), blockages in the ear (excessive ear wax, head congestion) sinus pressure and barometric trauma
- Head and neck trauma, TBI, and TMJ disorder
- A variety of diseases and health conditions
Can tinnitus be treated?
Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for tinnitus.
However, there are ways to manage tinnitus. Some patients experience relief after improving their general wellness. There are also hearing aids and a variety of treatments and therapies that may give a patient relief.
Keep in mind, every patient is unique, and every case of tinnitus is unique. That means every treatment plan is unique.
If you are suffering from tinnitus, make an appointment with one of our doctors at Center for Hearing, so we can find the right treatment for you.