Have you ever felt a hiss, wiz, or ringing in either one or both ears? Tinnitus, in simpler words, can be described as the awareness of sound in the head/ears, in absence of an external source. This problem is very common in elders, however around 10% of adults in the UK also experience this frequently.
The two types of Tinnitus are – Objective and Subjective. The former one is very rare and can be heard by someone examining the person. The latter is most common and can be heard by the person only. Sometimes, this ringing can be segments of music and pitch can be both high as well as low.
What are the different types of sounds heard by people in Tinnitus?
Ringing, humming, white noise, buzzing, high-pitched shrilling, chirping, clicking, whooshing, and drilling are the most common sounds. Around half of patients end up hearing more than one sound. Tinnitus acts as an indication of possible hearing loss in older people, so it should not be taken lightly.
What Can Possibly Cause Tinnitus?
- Long or sudden exposure to loud noise
- Ear infections and ear diseases
- Heart or blood vessel diseases
- Some degree of hearing loss
- Brain tumors
- Hormonal changes (in women)
- Thyroid abnormality
- Neck or head injury
- A side effect of medication
- Blockage in ears due to wax
- Emotional stress
- Migraine headaches
Are there any tests to diagnose Tinnitus?
There will be various blood tests, imaging studies, and hearing tests along with a complete examination of ears, eyes, neck, head, and torso. In various Tinnitus Clinics, there are tests such as Audiometry, Visual Analogue Scale, Loudness match test, and Tinnitus Matching to help doctors understand the range of sound, severity, and frequency level of tinnitus in a person.
How to manage Tinnitus?
- Find a good Tinnitus Clinic, however, if you are unable to find one in your area, then it is advisable to consult an ENT doctor or Audiologist.
- Excessive smoking and alcohol intake can worsen the condition of someone dealing with tinnitus.
- Many patients observe that their tinnitus condition worsens on the intake of certain foods, beverages, and medication. If you can identify such triggers, it would be best to avoid such triggers.
- It is advisable for persons dealing with tinnitus to wear earplugs or ear mufflers for guarding their ears against loud noises such as using power drilling tools and vacuum cleaners.
- Playing soft music at the backdrop will also help you get distracted from the ringing in your ears, and enables you to focus better on your daily chores.
- Tinnitus often gets worse with stress or sickness. Hence, doctors advise the patients to keep a healthy regime with a good sleeping pattern.
- Yoga helps you de-stress and it becomes possible to zone out the constant ringing in ears by focusing on breathing and body movements.
Apart from these, the doctors at a tinnitus clinic would help you deal with tinnitus with hearing aids, counseling, wearable sound generators, acoustic neural stimulation, and tinnitus retraining therapy.