Tinnitus Diagnosis and Treatment in Beckley, WV
What is Tinnitus? Why are My Ears "Ringing?"
Tinnitus is a condition that is experienced by the patient as a sensation of hearing a “ringing” in the ears that is not audible to anyone else. Patients with tinnitus may wonder what is causing the sensation that they are perceiving as a buzzing, clicking, swooshing, hissing, or whistling sound (or even hearing music in their ears) that no one else hears. The experience can be very disconcerting to the patient. Approximately 15% of the American population experiences some degree of tinnitus.
Tinnitus May Be a Permanent and Disabling Condition
tinnitus may be a temporary or permanent condition. It may manifest as a brief and passing occurrence or can be so severe as to be a disabling and burdensome chronic condition. Two types of tinnitus exist: Subjective tinnitus and Objective tinnitus.
Subjective tinnitus: Over 99% of all tinnitus cases are subjective tinnitus. The patient perceives noises within his or her own head or in one or both ears that are imperceptible to anyone other than the patient.
Objective tinnitus: Representing less than 1% of tinnitus cases, patients with objective tinnitus experience a greatly enhanced sense of hearing. The objective tinnitus patient hears extremely faint noises that are present in the environment, but typically not perceived by the majority of individuals. These sounds may include internal body functions such as the heart beat, the flow of blood throughout the body, and the movement of the muscles of the body.
Infants with Sensorineural Hearing Loss fail to respond to sounds and don't babble or make noises. Children with this condition may exhibit crying, pulling the ears, and irritation.
Tonal, Pulsatile, and Musical Tinnitus Sound Manifestations
Tinnitus presents as hearing several different forms of perceived sounds. These sounds may be either tonal or pulsing. In the vast majority of these cases, the patient hears a sound within the ear(s) or head that is not perceptible to bystanders. Some of the manifestations of sounds experienced by tinnitus patients include:
- Ocean Waves
- Dial Tones
These sounds may be perceived in a variety of ways:
Tonal: Continuous sound(s) of clearly defined frequencies that may fluctuate
Pulsatile: Pulsing sounds coordinated with the patient's heartbeat
Musical (a.k.a. “Musical Ear Syndrome”): Music or singing is perceived (typically, the same sound is repeated over and over)
Tinnitus is a Symptom of an Underlying Condition
There are hundreds of causes of tinnitus. The most common cause is related to hearing loss. The experience of tinnitus typically occurs as a sensorineural reaction of the brain to auditory damage. Some of the most common causes include:
- Reaction to Hearing Loss
- Age-Related Hearing Loss (Presbycusis)
- Exposure to Loud Noises
- Hair, Dirt, or Foreign Objects in the Ear
- Nasal Congestion
- Excess Ear Wax (Ceruminosis)
- Head & Neck Trauma
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)
- Rapid Changes in Elevation
- Ototoxic Drugs
- Ménière's Disease
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- High Blood Pressure
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Lyme Disease
- Acoustic Neuroma
- Vestibular Schwannoma
- Concussive Explosive Blasts
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
There is no known cure for tinnitus. However, a wide variety of treatment options are available to limit and minimize the burdensome aspects of tinnitus. Raleigh Hearing Center will work with you to find the optimal approach to control your tinnitus symptoms.
In some cases, you may be referred to another treatment provider to assist you with getting control of an underlying condition that may be contributing to your tinnitus, such as TMJ, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Ensure that your family doctor knows that you are experiencing tinnitus so that proper testing can be done to diagnose any medical conditions that may be contributing to your tinnitus.
If you are experiencing tinnitus, Contact Raleigh Hearing Center of Beckley, WV: (304) 255-1337.