What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus affects many individuals around the world every year. It is a hearing condition that is characterized by a sound that can only be heard by you. Tinnitus can be perceived in many different ways. Often people hear a buzzing, humming, or ringing sound, but there is almost no limit to the many ways that people can experience tinnitus.
Tinnitus currently has no cure, but there are many treatment options available. It’s always important to speak to an audiologist if you’re dealing with tinnitus. They can evaluate your hearing and ear health and discuss treatment options with you. Some treatment options are simple and inexpensive, such as certain supplements, while others are more in-depth. Make sure to take the time to discuss your options with your doctor before making any decisions.
What Complications Are Associated With Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can manifest as a persistent sound, or it can be intermittent. However, regardless of how frequent tinnitus symptoms are, they are almost always disruptive. Tinnitus can cause a host of issues for those experiencing it. Primarily, it serves as a distraction. Many people who experience tinnitus state that it is very hard to focus due to the sound of their tinnitus in the background. They may have issues concentrating on work because the ringing in their ears is so disruptive. Additionally, those living with tinnitus often have a hard time holding conversations because the sound of their tinnitus may make it difficult to hear other people.
Furthermore, tinnitus can also cause other issues, such as stress and anxiety. Many people living with tinnitus state that they have high levels of stress associated with their condition. They may feel as though they are unable to relax due to the persistent noise. Moreover, they may feel very anxious waiting for their tinnitus to be disruptive. Unfortunately, tinnitus has been shown to be exacerbated by stress and anxiety, so this can often end up becoming a vicious cycle.
How is Tinnitus Treated?
Even though tinnitus is a very disruptive condition, it is one that can be treated. Some people find great success from tinnitus treatment fairly quickly, while others have to work at it over time. One of the best ways to reduce tinnitus on your own is by reducing your stress and anxiety levels. Because stress and anxiety can worsen tinnitus symptoms, reducing those influences in your life can help to reduce your overall tinnitus.
Additionally, tinnitus can be treated by an audiologist.
If you are experiencing tinnitus symptoms, it’s important that you make an appointment with an audiologist. Because tinnitus can be a symptom of damaged hearing or certain medical conditions, you must make sure to get yourself evaluated.
Additionally, while there is currently no cure for tinnitus, there are several treatments that have been found to be very effective. Tinnitus retraining therapy has been shown to reduce tinnitus symptoms. Additionally, sound therapy is a very popular treatment option that has been shown to significantly reduce tinnitus symptoms. Sound therapy can work to replace the sound of tinnitus with a more pleasant sound by changing the way that you perceive your tinnitus.
What are the Causes of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be caused by many different factors. Some of the most common causes of tinnitus are:
- Exposure to Loud Noise: Prolonged exposure to loud noise is one of the most common reasons for tinnitus symptoms. Loud noises can cause permanent damage to your hearing and can result in tinnitus. Make sure to always protect your hearing when being exposed to loud noises by wearing earplugs or a device that can regulate the level of noise you hear.
- Age: Aging is another one of the most common reasons behind tinnitus. As we age, our hearing naturally deteriorates in certain ways, and this can result in tinnitus.
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders: The TMJ is the joint which connects the jaw and the skull together. Sometimes, people experience issues with this joint, such as it disconnecting or clicking upon opening and closing their mouths. This joint utilizes some of the same nerves and muscles like the inner ear, and thus issues with the TMJ can lead to tinnitus.
- Earwax Buildup: Though it might sound simple, impacted earwax can actually have a pretty serious effect on your hearing. It can even cause damage if left untreated. Earwax build-up can lead to tinnitus symptoms if it is not addressed. Luckily, however, this is one of the few causes of tinnitus that can be easily treated, especially if it’s caught early. A doctor can flush out the ear wax or remove it surgically if necessary. Once the impacted earwax is removed, tinnitus symptoms should fade and may even disappear altogether.
- Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s disease causes fluid to build up in the inner ear, which can lead to pressure. This can cause tinnitus symptoms and may affect your hearing in other ways.
- Head or Neck Injuries: Head or neck injuries can also lead to tinnitus. Such injuries can damage the inner ear in various ways, which can cause you to experience tinnitus.
- Ototoxic Medications: Certain medications, known as ototoxic medications, can lead to tinnitus. Many different medications fall into this category, even summon ones such as aspirin. However, even if you believe your medication is causing your tinnitus symptoms, be sure to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your medication.
- Blood Vessel Disorders: Blood vessel disorders can also cause tinnitus. When blood vessels are damaged, you may be able to hear the blood flow in your ears, which can be perceived as tinnitus. Additionally, other blood vessel issues, such as misformed capillaries, can cause tinnitus.
There are many different ways that tinnitus can manifest–from ringing to buzzing–from intermittent to constant. Regardless, tinnitus is always disruptive to some degree and can cause distraction and high levels of stress and anxiety. Because there are so many different causes of tinnitus, it’s important to always meet with a medical professional to discuss your tinnitus experience and see what they can do to get you on track to reducing your symptoms.