What Is Tinnitus Like – Signs, Causes & Treatments
Tinnitus describes a condition where people experience ringing or other strange sensations in their ears. These sounds include humming, whistling, or hissing. Sometimes, you may hear buzzing, roaring, or whooshing noises. Many people encounter tinnitus at least once in their lifetime. Although the condition is temporary, it can interfere with your daily routine and concentration if not treated.
There are different types of tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is the most common type, representing sounds only audible to you. For objective tinnitus, a medical professional would be able to hear the noises upon examining your ears. This issue stems from a problem with the ear’s bones, muscles, or blood vessels. In addition, some people hear noises that come and go simultaneously with their heartbeat, called pulsatile tinnitus.
Tinnitus can occur in one ear or both ears. The noises can be faint or loud. In severe cases, tinnitus feels like an annoying sensation inside the head, affecting a person’s concentration. Some people learn to live with the condition, while others find it distressing. A part of concussion management involves minimizing the symptoms to make them as bearable as possible.
Here is a comprehensive guide to tinnitus, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments:
Signs and symptoms of tinnitus
The symptoms of tinnitus can be persistent or intermittent. One of the most common signs is when somebody experiences buzzing, whirring, or ringing sounds. Sometimes, this noise is soft and steady. At other times, it is loud and pulsing. In addition, you may feel an uncomfortable sensation as if your head is full.
Tinnitus symptoms differ from person to person. They may also change depending on the time of day. Some people experience sounds that get louder during the night, while others constantly feel bothered by these sensations. In mild cases, the soft ringing only serves as a minor annoyance. However, the condition can escalate until it interferes with daily functions.
Plenty of people report experiencing tinnitus spikes. They will have moments of intense tinnitus in terms of volume, tone, or pitch. These disturbances are tough to ignore.
Tinnitus and clicking
If you hear constant clicking noises, tinnitus may not necessarily be the cause. Instead, the origins may come from another condition or the long-term effects of concussion. Sometimes, brisk walking can produce what is known as a seismic effect. It leads to movements in the small bones of the ear’s middle space, resulting in a clicking sound.
Although these clicking noises aren’t typically severe, they can affect your concentration. It is best to consult a medical check-up to diagnose the underlying cause.
Causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus may come from a multitude of causes. The common risk factors usually include aging, unhealthy habits, and loud noise exposure. Other health conditions, like high blood pressure, may also induce tinnitus.
Here are the various causes of tinnitus:
Cause #1: Age
Tinnitus is common among older individuals. People above 60 often experience hearing sensitivity, which worsens as they age.
Cause #2: Loud noise exposure
Occupational noises are one of the leading tinnitus causes. Disruptions like construction, heavy equipment, firearms, or drilling machines can aggravate tinnitus symptoms.
Cause #3: Loud music
Sometimes, noise exposure isn’t just related to occupational issues. Tinnitus could also result from noisy hobbies, like playing in a band or listening to loud music through headphones.
Cause #4: Unhealthy habits
Smoking or drinking alcohol can cause tinnitus. In addition, consuming high amounts of caffeine may also worsen tinnitus symptoms.
Cause #5: Common ailments
Heart diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure are the leading medical conditions that can lead to tinnitus. Similarly, some allergies may cause symptoms of tinnitus. Likewise, Temporal Mandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ syndrome) can cause tinnitus.
There is no proven cure for tinnitus. Since this condition is not life-threatening, many people learn to cope with the ringing sensations in their everyday lives. Sometimes, they use alternative measures like a white noise generator. Creating soothing environmental sounds may override the impact of tinnitus.
In addition, treatments and therapy can help lessen the symptoms so that the condition is easier to ignore. Here are some of the possible ways to stop tinnitus immediately:
Hearing aids can be a beneficial solution since tinnitus is prevalent among people with hearing loss. Modern hearing aids now come with tinnitus masking features to help the brain focus on desired sounds.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is a sound therapy that helps retrain the brain to acknowledge and focus on desirable noises. You’ll learn to ignore the background ringing noises in the ear, known as habituation.
Improving your health can be an excellent way to stop tinnitus in the long term. A healthier body means you’re less worn down by ailments and better equipped against tinnitus symptoms. Some suggestions include reducing stress, decreasing caffeine consumption, and controlling blood pressure. In addition, cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, and relaxation exercises can relieve tinnitus discomfort.