Have you ever thought you heard a fax coming in only to realize that you have not owned a personal fax machine for at least two decades? Hearing a low buzzing, hissing, ringing in the ear, roaring or clicking is a sign you may be suffering from tinnitus.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a sound when no sound is actually present. Almost 20 percent of the population in San Diego and throughout the country reports some degree of tinnitus. Those suffering from tinnitus may experience these sounds constantly or sporadically and they may be present in both ears or only one; sounds can also vary in frequency and pitch. In addition to hearing a phantom noise, those with tinnitus often also experience fatigue, sleep problems, memory problems, depression and anxiety.
Have you now accepted the fact that your San Diego home has not suddenly starting making new house sounds and instead you may be suffering from episodes of tinnitus? Good. The first step toward tinnitus treatment is accepting you have a problem.
Before seeking treatment from our San Diego audiologist it is important to understand what causes tinnitus.
There are two kinds of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Subjective is the most common type and is classified by sounds only you can hear. The second, and much rarer type of tinnitus is called objective. This occurs when your audiologist can actually hear the ringing during an examination.
Ringing in the Ear Causes
Tinnitus is typically caused by damage to the inner ear. The inner ear is lined with small hairs. When sound waves enter the ear they cause these hairs to move, which causes an electrical signal to be sent through the auditory nerve to your brain where it is interpreted as sound. If these hairs become damaged they can begin to randomly send electrical impulses. These signals are interpreted by your brain as a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing. Age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise and earwax blockage are all common causes of inner ear damage. This is why hearing protection is so important.
In addition to inner ear damage, tinnitus is also a common side effect of some disorders. Ménière’s disease is an inner ear disorder categorized by episodes of vertigo and tinnitus. Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ disorders) or a head or neck injury can cause tinnitus. Acoustic neuroma, a noncancerous tumor that develops on the nerve that runs from your brain to your inner ear, can also cause tinnitus, although usually only in one ear.
Blood vessel disorders have been known to cause tinnitus. Atherosclerosis is a condition that can cause the blood vessels near the ear to become rigid. This causes blood flow to be more forceful and as a result, you can actually hear it. High blood pressure, a head or neck tumor pressing on a blood vessel or irregular blood flow can cause tinnitus.
There are more than 200 drugs known to list tinnitus as a side effect. Fortunately, the symptoms will disappear when you stop using the drug. These drugs range from cancer medications to water pills, quinine medications, some antibiotics and certain antidepressants.
Figuring out the cause of your ringing in the ear is priority number one for your San Diego audiologist, as it can help them when developing a tinnitus treatment plan. Are you ready to finally have relief from your tinnitus symptoms? If so, contact your San Diego audiologist, today.