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What is Tinnitus?

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is commonly characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears. While it is not a disease, it is a common symptom of an underlying condition such as hearing loss, ear injury, or problems with circulation. Tinnitus is generally worse when background noise is low, such as when the patient is sleeping.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus causes can be from a variety of factors, from various health conditions to blood vessel disorders and medications. However, the most frequent cause of tinnitus is noise induced hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to loud noise will damage receptors in the ear, causing hearing loss and ultimately tinnitus.

Other causes of tinnitus include age related hearing loss, changes in inner ear bone, and head or neck injuries. Blood vessel disorders such as tumors, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow, and atherosclerosis have also led to tinnitus. Medications that may worsen tinnitus include antibiotics, cancer medications, and even aspirin.

What does tinnitus sound like?

Tinnitus is known as ringing in the ears, but people who suffer from tinnitus often describe it as a sound that varies and changes throughout the day. Common descriptors for tinnitus include ringing, buzzing, hissing, static sounds, crickets, screeching, sirens, whistling, whooshing, roaring, pulsing, ocean waves, clicking, dial tones, and even music or fragments of songs. The loudness that someone may experience these sounds varies from person to person.

Pulsatile tinnitus occurs when the patient hears rhythmical noises that occur at the same rate as their heart beat and pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is related to the blood flow in the vessels near the ears. This is a type of objective tinnitus, meaning a physician or another person will be able to hear this type of tinnitus as well.

Even if you do not suffer from hearing loss, you may have experienced the symptoms of tinnitus. After a loud concert or after listening to loud music for a prolonged period of time, you may have heard a ringing in your ears. The loud concert, a short term exposure to loud noise, caused the characteristic ringing in the ears of tinnitus. Fortunately, this type of tinnitus will go away after a period of time. Prolonged exposure to loud noises, as someone who works at a music venue may experience, may lead to permanent damage to the ear and lasting tinnitus.

What helps tinnitus?

What causes tinnitus ranges from your daily noise level to what medication you use. Likewise, there are several behaviors that you may modify in order to help curb the intensity of your tinnitus. What helps tinnitus is generally identifying ways that improve blood flow, particularly to areas of the ear. Consider cutting back on drinking alcohol or stop smoking tobacco and using smokeless tobacco products. Limiting use of aspirin, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory drugs may also lessen symptoms of tinnitus. Regular exercise also improves blood flow throughout the body. However, avoid exercises which keep your neck in a hyperextended position for long periods of time, such as riding a bike.

If your symptoms do not improve after trying these suggestions, avoid exposure to the noises which may be causing your tinnitus. Try wearing ear plugs or ear muffs, or try ignoring the noises by directing your attention to other interesting subjects. Some patients find that quiet rooms make their tinnitus seem even worse. If you are having trouble falling asleep at night, consider playing relaxing sounds, such as ocean sounds or white noise to help you fall asleep.

Many patients with hearing loss who suffer with tinnitus have found some relief with their hearing devices. Hearing aids may help lessen the symptoms of tinnitus because it heightens the amount of ambient sound the mask what tinnitus sounds like. Hearing aids also help in amplifying certain frequencies that the patient focuses on, masking many soft sounds that characterize tinnitus.

If you are interested in using a hearing aid to help relieve your symptoms of tinnitus, consider using one of Ovation Hearing’s affordable hearing aids. The Ovation Elite Fit Hearing Aid  is a small, behind the ear hearing aid and costs only $549. This hearing aid feeds outside noises to the ear canal, allowing you to more easily focus on what you are listening to, rather than the ringing in your ears.

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