Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common ENT disorder that may have a strong association with aged-related hearing loss. This ear condition causes people to hear unusual noises or experience unwanted sensations in one or both of their ears. There are many tinnitus products, services and dietary treatments that claim to cure or relieve the symptoms but few of these claims have been scientifically tested in a clinical setting. In order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and receive the best possible treatment plan, you should see a trained healthcare professional or ENT specialist.
Objective and Subjective Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be a temporary condition or an ongoing health malady. One of the first steps in determining a successful treatment plan is to differentiate objective from subjective types. With subjective tinnitus, there is a false perception of sound (usually ringing, hissing or buzzing) that is often due to the absence of an acoustic stimulus. Thumping or pulsating sounds associated with objective tinnitus are related to heartbeat and usually produced by an internal function in the body’s circulatory or somatic systems. People suffering with tinnitus often fear their symptoms are caused by a serious medical problem. However, this is rarely the case.
Hearing annoying sounds or sensations in your ears?
If so, tinnitus can be a very frightening condition, especially if it develops rapidly and without warning.* However, tinnitus is not a disease but rather a symptom of some underlying health condition. According to the American Tinnitus Association, more than 200 health conditions can cause tinnitus symptoms, such as pulsating, fluttering, buzzing, clicking, whining, hissing, roaring, beeping or cricket-like sounds.
*NOTE: If there is evidence that the ringing or noise in the ears could have been triggered by physical trauma, such as a concussive event, the person should seek immediate care to address any emergency medical condition that may exist.
Treatment Options for Tinnitus
Although there are numerous catalysts, subjective tinnitus is typically caused by an auditory or neurological reaction to hearing loss. It is estimated that 99% of tinnitus cases are subjective. With objective tinnitus, the ear noise that is perceived is a rhythmic pulsing that often keeps time with the patient's heartbeat. Patients with objective tinnitus are hearing real sounds and these pulsating noises can be heard using a stethoscope or by someone placing his or her ear next to the patient's ear.
Although there is no specific cure for most types of tinnitus, there are several treatment options that can provide some level of comfort and allow patients to live a more productive lifestyle. Based on our ENT doctor's diagnosis, a tinnitus management and treatment program will be implemented to help you control the unwanted noise in your ears. In certain cases, nerve interference or damage to the inner ear may require corrective ear surgery. In all situations where tinnitus symptoms continue beyond a week, or become a significant burden, you should seek medical attention from your primary care or ENT physician.