Do you ever hear unusual ringing or even a buzzing sound in your ears? Does it occur frequently or occasionally without the presence of a valid source? Well, that what you may call a “ringing in the ears.” Usually, doctors and scientists refer to it as tinnitus. It is a neurological and audiological disorder. Although ringing is the most common sensation that tinnitus-affected people may face, other sensations like buzzing and hissing sounds exist.
Overview of Tinnitus
Tinnitus noise levels can range between high and low pitches, just like loud roars or sharp squeals. In addition to that, it might occur in one or both of your ears. Generally, tinnitus results in rhythmic or pulsating noise patterns that are capable of interfering with your abilities by causing a loss of focus or concentration to perform normal tasks.
Subjective tinnitus ranges in severity from chronic to mild, and it might even be temporary. Besides that, in subjective tinnitus, loud or pulsating “ringing” in your ear is exclusive to your hearing. Monotonous or changing sounds that create a sensation of being outside the head or in one or both your ears are what describe this common type of tinnitus condition.
If you have objective tinnitus, you might not be the only person who hears the rhythmic or pulsating sound. In fact, someone close to you might be able to detect the sound patterns that are often in sync with your blood flow (close to the ear tissue) or heart rate.
Ringing in the Ears: Symptoms
Often, tinnitus has some other symptoms, which occur without any external sound/audio source. Some of those phantom noises are below:
Ringing in the Ears: Causes
Did you know that deformity or damage in the inner or middle ear is among the prime causes of tinnitus? Your middle ear is responsible for picking up sound waves that are prompted to your inner ears. Consequently, your inner ears transmit electric signals to your brain. Ultimately, it leads to what you perceive as “hearing.” In contrast, tinnitus involves damage to the inner ear, so you face a disruption in how your brain receives the electric signals.
Moreover, regular exposure to loud and heavy sounds can also contribute to a tinnitus condition—for example, construction or steel millwork that involves heavy equipment such as jackhammers. Well, if you have a habit of attending loud concerts or putting on your music headset at full volume, it might be time for a change of habit. Why? Because these everyday activities can lead to tinnitus as well.
Furthermore, damage to the tiny bones, eardrums, tumors in the ear, or auditory nerve can lead to tinnitus. Besides the above-mentioned causes of tinnitus, some medications in excessive dosages can possibly cause tinnitus.
- Anti-malarial drugs
- Specific antibiotics
- Excessive aspirin consumption
- Anti-cancer treatments and medications
Other Medical Conditions Leading to Tinnitus
- Muscle spasms (in ears)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Neck or head injury
- Excessive earwax buildup
- Age-related loss of hearing
- Meniere’s disease
A hearing test is useful for detecting tinnitus, and in most cases, your doctor or general physician conducts such a test. The process involves your doctor passing a sound to each ear alternatively. After this, you respond with a hand or any other sort of gesture upon hearing.
Your doctor may suggest tests like a CT, MRI, or even plain standard-film X-rays to ensure that you do not face underlying medical conditions, such as deformities. Your doctor will compare your hearing abilities to those of others belonging to the same demographic (sex, age, etc.). These can help your doctor suggest adequate treatment and medication.
Numerous treatment options for tinnitus are available to help relieve pain and symptoms. Of course, your doctor will determine any underlying health concerns before opting for treatment. Some options include:
- Avoiding or reducing the intake of hearing-affecting medication
- Earwax removal from the ear(s)
- Hearing aids
- White noise machines
- Treating the blood vessels that appear damaged or deformed
Other Treatment Methods (Noise Suppression)
Tinnitus is rarely curable, and this implies the need for symptom-relieving methods. In this case, electronic devices like white noise machines or masking machines are among the best noise suppressors.
When Should You See A Doctor?
If the “ringing” or other tinnitus symptoms are reoccurring and causing major life disturbances, you should immediately seek professional medical care. Diagnosis consists of various exams and tests, the results for which will help your doctor determine the best course of treatments.
Ringing in the Ears: Conclusion
If you are looking for the best professional medical care to treat tinnitus in NYC, don’t look any further. Stephen Geller Katz, LCSW, possesses 30-years of clinical experience with expertise in tinnitus and anxiety disorder therapies and treatment. As the founder of the Tinnitus Cognitive Center, Dr. Stephen Geller aims to provide relief to his patients in NYC and around the world.