Tinnitus is a disorder that can have a direct bearing on an individual's personal and professional life. Also known as the "ringing ear condition," this ailment afflicts an astounding 36 million Americans, with almost half the population suffering from ringing in the ears symptoms at some point in their life. While the condition is often considered to be vexing and distracting, it can also be a signal that points to other underlying health concerns. So, if you suffer from ringing in ears symptoms or are not sure if the strange and annoying noises that you hear are a result of tinnitus, here is a look at what the ailments is all about, the different types of tinnitus and common ringing in ears symptoms. It is imperative for people who suffer from the condition to seek medical attention.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is marked by a distinctive ringing sound heard by patients who suffer from the condition. A potentially debilitating disorder if not treated in time, ringing in ears symptoms can get progressively worse leading to depression and other psychological issues. People who experience ringing in ears symptoms often spend nights tossing and turning, which results in chronic sleep deprivation. The condition can ruin a person's ability to have a conversation or even concentrate on a task. There are two identifiable forms of tinnitus and learning about them can help a patient to understand the nature and extent of his condition.
Different types of Tinnitus
Subjective Tinnitus: With this form of tinnitus, patients experience ringing in ears symptoms such as a consistent drumming, ringing or humming sound in the ears; however, this noise can only be heard by the patient. The type of sound heard can vary from one person to another and may include a buzzing, wheezing or even a loud bell ringing sound. While subjective tinnitus is not detrimental to the patient's physical well-being it is generally considered to be more offensive and aggravating than objective tinnitus because the sound heard is loud enough to drown other external noises.
Because the ringing in ears symptoms are persistent with Subjective tinnitus, it is normal for patients to suffer from insomnia, depression and mood swings along with acute sleep deprivation. Also, this condition may be brought on by a loss of hearing due to old age or constant exposure to loud sounds, so it is imperative to consult a physician once symptoms are experienced.
Objective tinnitus: The difference between objective and subjective tinnitus is that in case of objective tinnitus the sound can be heard by a physician by placing a stethoscope or other listening instruments near the ear. The ringing in ears symptoms experienced by patients who suffer from objective tinnitus are similar to those felt by subjective tinnitus sufferers and include loud ringing, buzzing or wheezing sounds. Also known as Pulsatile tinnitus, the sound is often heard in synchronization with the patient's heartbeat; the condition is frequently a symptom of other chronic or acute ailments including high blood pressure and cardiac concerns such as blocked arteries or tumor in the neck or head.
What causes ringing in ears symptoms?
Experts are of the opinion that tinnitus is not an ailment in itself; rather it is a reflection of an underlying condition. So, the common disorders that lead to tinnitus include:
> Hearing loss due to old age
> Cochlear canal damage
> Hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds
> Excess ear wax build up
> Ear infection
> Drug intake including preparations such as aspirin, quinine and aminoglycoside antibiotics
> Meniere's disease
> A brain tumor known as acoustic neuroma that grows on the nerve which supplies hearing
> Overactive thyroid
> Vascular tumors
> Intracranial hypertension
> Jaw joint misalignment
Ringing in ears symptoms
The typical symptoms of tinnitus include:
A consistent buzzing or ringing sound is heard by patients who suffer from the condition. While some people may hear the noise continuously and it may be loud enough to block out other external auditory stimuli, in other cases, the symptoms may only be experienced intermittently. Regardless of the intensity of ringing in ears symptoms and their frequency, this condition is cause for concern and patients should consult their physician immediately.
Apart from the loud ringing sounds, other symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, lack of concentration, depression, sleep deprivation, etc. may also be experienced.
If ringing in ears symptoms are experienced suddenly or after a neck or head injury, it is imperative to consult with your physician at the earliest.
In cases where the hearing loss is associated with tinnitus, there are very good chances of reversing the damage to the cochlear canal through medical intervention. Patients should be particularly wary of tinnitus that is only experienced in one ear; this warrants immediate evaluation as it may be a caused due to a tumor. Whether you suffer from objective or subjective tinnitus and even if the symptoms are only experienced intermittently, it is vital to get a diagnosis done.