If you can hear a strange ringing, buzzing or roaring sound in your ears that doesn’t seem to be coming from anywhere, you probably have tinnitus.
The definition of tinnitus is an awareness of noise such as a ringing or whistling that occurs as a result of a disturbance in the auditory system, and is usually only heard by the person who is affected.
Tinnitus is a common problem that many people will experience at some point in their lives. For some, it can be nothing more than an irritation that they can ignore. However, for other people, it can be far more distressing. Tinnitus can cause feelings of frustration, confusion, anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability and cause problems with concentration and sleep.
While the impact of tinnitus can be serious, it isn’t usually a sign that there is anything serious. However, you can expect it to get worse as you get older. Fortunately, there are treatments available that are effective in reducing tinnitus symptoms or masking the sounds so the tinnitus is less noticeable and doesn’t have such an impact on your quality of life.
In some rare cases, a blood vessel disorder can lead to tinnitus, known as pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus causes include:
Some medications cause tinnitus or can worsen symptoms, particularly when taken at a high dose. Known drugs that cause tinnitus can include certain antibiotics, cancer medications, antidepressants, and aspirin when taken in high doses.
Unusual ear sounds such as tinnitus can often be worsened by stress and anxiety. Your auditory system has neural connections to the part of your brain that deals with emotions. When this limbic system is very active the brain can struggle to shut down tinnitus. As the tinnitus continues it can also cause your stress and anxiety to rise which then, in turn, increases your tinnitus symptoms.
When it comes to how to treat tinnitus, your first step should be visiting your doctor or hearing care professional. They will be able to assess your symptoms and determine the best tinnitus treatment for you. Some treatments for tinnitus include:
If you are experiencing unusual sounds in your ears or you have any concerns about your hearing, schedule a consultation with a hearing care professional who will be able to assess you, and discuss your options.
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