Categorized | Ringing in Ears Symptom

Treatment and Cause of Tinnitus

Treatment and Cause of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the word used to describe a particular symptom that stems from several unrelated causes. It refers to the sensation of hearing a sound, usually a ringing, that doesn’t actually exist. It’s estimated that approximately 10% or more of the population suffers from Tinnitus. Though older individuals are more likely to experience Tinnitus, it can affect anyone at any age. It can occur in one or both ears, where the cause of tinnitus can vary from person to person.

The Symptoms of Tinnitus

In the past, Tinnitus was somewhat rare in younger people. But today’s lifestyles and environmental conditions are increasingly leading to its presence in younger individuals. Though not the only cause of Tinnitus, loud noises are the most common factor leading to it.

Most people complain of hearing a ringing noise that seems like it’s coming from within their heads. The noise is also often described as a whistling, hissing or buzzing sound. For some people the sound is mild and doesn’t affect their ability to hear, while in others it is extreme enough to interfere with normal hearing. It can be loud enough in some people to cause psychological problems due to its constant existence.

The Cause of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is caused by damage to the cochlea, located in the inner ear. Damage to the cochlear nerves cause the electrical signal transmitted to the brain to become distorted. The brain interprets the distortion as the sound the people experience.

This damage is somewhat inevitable in older people, but can usually be avoided in the young. Since load noises are the biggest culprit, avoiding loud music and using hearing protection in other loud environments is considered the best prevention.

Other causes of Tinnitus can be harder to avoid. Several diseases as well as injuries to the head, jaw and teeth can also cause the problem. Sudden onset of Tinnitus can indicate an underlying problem that should be checked.

The Treatment of Tinnitus

There is no cure for noise related Tinnitus, and treatments are simply designed to relieve the symptoms. Certain drugs can minimize the nerve impulse and relieve the noise, allowing those with severe cases to sleep. In other types of Tinnitus, treating the underlying cause will usually relieve the tinnitus, though relief may not be immediate.

Recently, new mechanical hearing aid type devices have been developed that can drown out the noise by producing an inverse wavelength. These devices work much like the noise cancelling headphones many people are familiar with, but the treatment is still being tested.

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