Tinnitus Management

Tinnitus, signs, symptoms, remedial measures

It is commonly described as a hissing, roaring, ringing or whooshing sound in one or both ears, called tinnitus aurium, or in the head, called tinnitus cranii. The sound ranges from high to low pitch and can be a single tone, multi-tonal, or noise-like, having no tonal quality. Tinnitus may be constant, pulsing or intermittent. It may begin suddenly or progress gradually.

Tinnitus can be broadly classified into two categories: objective and subjective.

  • Objective Tinnitus
    This form can be heard to an observer either with a stethoscope or simply by listening in close proximity to the ear.
    Objective tinnitus is seen in less than 5 percent of overall tinnitus cases and is often associated with vascular or muscular disorders.
    The tinnitus is frequently described as pulsatile, or synchronous with the patient’s heartbeat. In many cases, the cause of objective tinnitus
    can be determined and treated
  • Subjective Tinnitus
    This form can be heard only to the patient and is much more common, seen in 95 percent of tinnitus cases. Subjective tinnitus is a symptom that is associated with practically every known ear disorder and is reported to be present in over 80 percent of individuals with sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by nerve and/or hair cell damage. Because tinnitus, is subjective, two individuals may demonstrate identical tinnitus loudness and pitch matches yet be affected in significantly different ways. The severity of the tinnitus is largely a function of the individual’s reaction to the condition.

Many tinnitus sufferers:
Have difficulty sleeping or concentrating
Feel depressed or anxious
Report additional problems at work or at home that may contribute to the distress caused by tinnitus

Although the exact mechanism underlying tinnitus is unknown, it is likely that there are many related factors. Tinnitus usually, but not always, has to do with an abnormality of the hearing or neural system.

There are a number of causes linked with tinnitus including:
Disorders in the outer ear, such as ear wax, a hair touching the eardrum, a foreign body or a perforated eardrum Disorders in the middle ear, such as negative pressure from eustachian tube dysfunction, fluid, infection, otosclerosis, allergies or benign tumors Disorders in the inner ear, such as sensorineural hearing loss due to noise exposure, aging, inner ear infection or Meniere’s disease often accompanied by hearing loss and dizziness

Although the majority of tinnitus sufferers also have hearing loss, the presence of tinnitus does not indicate that one is losing hearing.

The list of treatments mentioned for Tinnitus includes the following list.
Hearing aids
Maskers – electronic devices to hide the tinnitus noises.
Listening to sounds – music, radio static (for sleeping), natural sounds, etc.
Tinnitus retraining therapy – learning how to not hear the noises as much.
Various medications are available for tinnitus