Category Archives: Tinnitus

Tinnitus: Understanding the Ringing

When you try to tilt your head again, what was that you were hearing again? If hear ringing bells when no belfries are around or trying to consider buzzing bees inside the elevator, you might want to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Hearing noises while in your lucid moments doesn’t mean you need a shrink. You are sane. It’s just that your ears aren’t cooperating well.

The Subject

Affecting 1 out of 5 people, TINNITUS is a state characterized by ringing or noise in the ears. It isn’t a disorder by itself. However, it may signal a presence of an underlying condition.

Though it may be quite common among elderly clients and rarely a serious matter, ringing sounds among the younger population might signal something unwanted medically and/or may cause discomfort and dysfunction.

The phantom noises you might hear range from buzzing to ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing and whistling. These sounds may vary in pitch, intensity and length.

Too much of these sounds may disrupt your ability to concentrate and focus on your tasks.

Tinnitus is categorized into 2. Subjective tinnitus is ringing that only you can hear. It is the most common type of tinnitus suffered by clients.

It may indicate problems in the areas of the ear or during nerve conduction. Objective tinnitus, on the other hand, is the ringing which your doctor can hear upon examination.

This may be secondary to inner bone dysfunction, vessel problems or alteration in muscle contractions.

The Causes

Ringing of the ears or buzzing of bees near the ears may be cause by any of the following conditions.

  • Aging. Tinnitus is presented in majority of aging individuals. Presbycusis or hearing loss due to aging can cause tinnitus.
  • Earwax Obstruction. Impacted earwax causes imbalance in the air pressure inside the ears (air conduction is impaired). This, in turn, creates phantom noises such as hissing and swishing.
  • loud noiseLoud Noises. If you have been partying all night, notice that your ears seem to be filled with impacted air. Exposure to loud noises can cause both temporary and permanent ear damage.
  • Stress. Apparently, according to some experts, tinnitus is worsened by stress and depression.
  • Underlying Condition. Ear bone damages and Meniere’s disease are but 2 of the common disorders directly affecting the ears which can cause tinnitus. Changes in ear bone structures contribute to improper sound wave conduction while Meniere’s disease is characterized by inner fluid imbalance. TMJ or Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorders (a condition affecting the joint in between the ear and the jawbone) can cause tinnitus as well.
  • Medications. Some pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, diuretics, aspirin (taken for long periods) and cancer medications can cause tinnitus.

The Consult

Medical consultations need to be sought when your tinnitus doesn’t seem to improve in a few days’ time. If the ringing of your ears appeared suddenly without apparent cause, seek help as soon as possible.

However, you might need immediate attention if tinnitus appeared after ear trauma or accompanied by dizziness and hearing loss.

The Buzz – Treating Tinnitus

Though you might find buzzing bees funny, some clients find it frustrating to hear unwanted noises even at the break of silence.

Tinnitus might not be a serious condition (and is not a disorder itself) but it can be debilitating. Just imagine yourself being a disc jockey and you are unable to categorize sounds because all you hear are swishes and swooshes.

What if you’re a famous composer; after a neck injury you could barely discriminate do’s from sol’s just because all you can hear are ringing of bells. Wouldn’t that be infuriating?

Tinnitus can hamper tasks. And just so you know, it can severely affect the usual activities that you can do every day.

When to Seek Consult

seek consultAn expert’s opinion should be taken into account when tinnitus is not getting any better. If the ringing in your ears remains persistent for days, increases in intensity or is already annoying, seeking medical help is necessary.

Here are some more reasons why you need medical consult as soon as possible.

  • Ringing of the ears is accompanied by hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus doesn’t have any apparent cause and appeared suddenly.
  • Tinnitus occurred after ear, head or neck trauma.
  • There is pain or discomfort.
  • There is presence of dizziness or loss of balance.

Are you at Risk?

Tinnitus can be suffered by anyone regardless of age, sex and race.

However, if you are with any of these characteristics, you might be at a higher risk to develop tinnitus.

  • More than 65 years old.
  • Exposed to loud noises too often, on a regular basis without any ear protection.
  • Suffering from presbycusis or age-related hearing loss
  • Male
  • Caucasian
  • With history and/or family history of hearing loss
  • Clients with PTSD

What are the treatment options?

  • If you are suffering from an underlying medical condition, treating the main disorder is the only way to remedy tinnitus.
  • Suppression of the noise. Usage of ‘white noise’ can help depress bothersome noises. Other doctors may prescribe hearing aids to alleviate hearing problems which might have cause the ringing, masking devices which suppresses symptoms of tinnitus and tinnitus retraining devices which tone down the intensities of the phantom noises that you hear.
  • Medications do not cure tinnitus as is. Pharmacologic therapies are rather symptomatic in nature. They are aimed to decrease symptoms. Examples of these medications are Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and alprazolam.

Can you do anything at home?

Certainly! Management of tinnitus includes a whole lot of lifestyle modifications. Here are some simple home-based techniques which you can do at the comforts of your home.

  • Divert your attention from the buzzing of the bees. In a quiet setting at home, mask the noise caused by tinnitus through tuning up your favorite song, do something that creates a pleasing sound or watch a movie.
  • Practice stress management. Stress can worsen tinnitus. Relax and get some rest. Get rid of the bad vibes and channel your energy into something productive.
  • Avoid trigger factors. Loud noises and nicotine are 2 of the most common irritants.