Tinnitus is a common problem among older adults. It causes a ringing noise in one or both of the ears. 15% – 20% of the population of the entire world is affected by this condition. It is usually caused by underlying conditions in the human body. People with circulatory problems, ear injury, or age-related hearing loss are mainly victims of this condition. In the following article, we’ll be discussing the causes, symptoms, and treatments of tinnitus.
Due to tinnitus, the patient can hear ringing sounds that are actually not present around him. Also, some may experience buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or humming noises. These noises can vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal. This can occur either in one or both ears. Sometimes, the patient may experience extreme noise that hinders one’s ability to concentrate or even hearing.
In some cases, it can be a constant event or recurring. On rare occasions, tinnitus may occur as rhythmic pulsing, often in time with one’s heartbeat. This condition is referred to as pulsatile tinnitus.
Consulting a Doctor
For some people, tinnitus can cause extreme discomfort. It can badly affect their daily life and ability to work. If you develop tinnitus after suffering from a cold and it doesn’t improve within a week, one must consult a doctor. You may consider seeing a doctor if you have any of the below-mentioned conditions.
- Hearing loss or dizziness associated with tinnitus.
- Experiencing anxiety or depression due to tinnitus
Common Causes of Tinnitus
Several underlying health conditions can trigger or worsen tinnitus. Often the cause is very hard to identify. In many people, the following conditions trigger tinnitus:
- Injuries in head or neck: Trauma in the head or neck can cause damage to the inner ear. The inner ear links the hearing cells and brain function. Thus a person can develop tinnitus in one ear.
- Ear infection or ear canal blockage: Due to fluid or earwax build-up, the ear can get blocked. This promotes a change in pressure in the ear, and tinnitus is introduced.
- Hearing loss: The hair cells lying in the inner ear can get damaged or bent due to various reasons. When this happens, the cells may send ghastly sounds in the brain. This can trigger tinnitus in one’s ear.
- Medications: Some anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, cancer drugs, antidepressants can trigger or worsen tinnitus. Generally, the higher the dose, the worse the condition. Often the condition can get better when the medication stops.
- Meniere’s disease: Meniere’s disease is caused by abnormal pressure buildup in the ear. Tinnitus is often the primary symptom of this disease.
- Ear bone growth: This is often caused by genetic reasons. In some cases, the abnormal growth of middle ear bones can stiffen the whole area. Therefore, one may feel extreme noise and lose hearing in extreme cases.
- Other chronic conditions: Thyroid problems, migraines, anemia, and autoimmune disorders can be associated with tinnitus.
Risk Increasing factors
Tinnitus can occur in any person of any age and gender. But, the following facts may increase the risks.
- Exposure to tremendous noise: Long exposure to loud noise can badly impact one’s hearing. Noisy work environments, portable music devices, heavy equipment, firearms can cause substantial noise that can promote tinnitus in one’s ear.
- Tobacco and alcohol use: Alcohol abusers and smokers possess a huge possibility to be a victim of tinnitus.
- Age: With increasing age, the healing property of the human body can decrease significantly. Therefore various chronic conditions, including tinnitus, can occur.
- Sex: Men are more likely to be a victim of tinnitus.
Different people may face varying degrees and complications from tinnitus. It primarily affects one’s hearing and brain function. Some may also suffer from stress, sleep problems, fatigue, and depression. Anxiety, irritability, headaches can be very recurring events in the case of tinnitus. In extreme situations, some people can develop memory loss due to tinnitus. Treating these conditions may not cure tinnitus, but it’ll help you feel better.
As mentioned before, tinnitus may not be curable. In some cases, the underlying condition may not be identified. So some preventive measures should be taken before developing such complications. Some of the important measures can be:
- Using hearing protection devices: We are almost always exposed to sound. And at some point, it may damage our hearing. Therefore, tinnitus is triggered. So one must try to refrain from exposing loud noises. While using heavy and loud machines like chainsaws, leaf blowers, snow plungers, use ear-protecting devices. Over-the-ear hearing protections works wonders in this manner.
- Turn down volumes:Very high volumes through headphones can heavily promote tinnitus. So turn down the volumes on a minimal level.
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine usage:These substances heavily affect blood flow. When they are used in an excessive amount, tinnitus is introduced.
Hearing is one of the essential senses in a human. And tinnitus can badly affect this ability along with other associated conditions. So one must try to avoid the situations which promote tinnitus. If one finds any symptoms of tinnitus, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Make good choices and live your extra life healthy and happy.