Could You Have Tinnitus
How do you know if you have it? Your doctor will make the final call, but you can ask yourself these questions.
Do you hear a noise that people around you don’t hear? When you have tinnitus, you’re the only one who notices the ringing, buzzing, or other noise. Other people don’t.
Do you take medication? More than 200 drugs can cause tinnitus, especially when you start or stop taking them. These include pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen, as well as certain antibiotics, diuretics, aspirin, and chemotherapy medicines.
The form that tinnitus takes can vary, depending on the drug and its dose. Don’t stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first.
Are you around loud sounds? Lots of blaring noises where you live or work can cause hearing loss that triggers tinnitus. Those sounds could include roaring machines, lawn equipment, concerts, and sporting events.
Tinnitus can build up over the years or stem from a single loud event, like an engine backfire. Stay away from loud noises if you can. If you can’t, wear ear protection. And turn that music down.
Do you have a cold or ear infection? Congestion, along with ear and sinus infections, can cause pressure to build up in your inner ear. The same thing can happen if you have too much ear wax. That pressure can cause tinnitus.
Treating the cause should ease your symptoms. But long-term blockage sometimes leads to having the hearing condition permanently.
Symptoms Of Tinnitus: Whats That Sound In Your Ears
Symptoms can vary from person to person. According to an online poll, these are some of the words people use to describe what they hear. These sounds can either be constant or intermittent. For some, tinnitus symptoms can be so loud that it interferes with everyday activities. In mild cases, the ringing may feel like a minor annoyance that is more noticeable in quiet settings.
The consequences of severe tinnitus
The brain is used to hearing a certain amount of sound. Hearing loss reduces the amount of sound that gets to the brain. As a result, it has to turn up its internal amplifier, so to speak, in an attempt to hear clearly. However, this turning up in the brain is perceived as a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In other words, the brain has to create sound to fill in the empty space caused by loss of hearing. Consequently, this can take a huge toll on your mental and emotional well-being as your brain has to work harder to hear and understand. In fact, studies show that approximately 35% of tinnitus patients have anxiety, 13-28% have depression, and 25% exhibit psychiatric disorder.
What Is Pulsatile Tinnitus
Pulsatile tinnitus is caused by blood circulating in or near your ears.
Unlike most types of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus has a physical source of sound that your ears pick up. Its an amplified sound of blood circulating through your arteries.
The ringing or buzzing you hear with other kinds of tinnitus is a result of nerves picking up on abnormal electrical signals moving from your ears to your brain.
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The Full Experience Of Living With Tinnitus From A Patients Perspective Has Been Under
This is from a new May/June 2019 study in the journal Ear and Hearing. Here we find Canadian researchers from the University of Montreal and the University of Ottawa suggesting that Tinnitus is a challenge that needs to be addressed on an individual basis. They point to these observations:
- The impact of tinnitus on sleep, concentration abilities, social activities, and mood may vary greatly from one individual to another, with some being severely affected and others only experiencing a slight handicap. WHY?
- The researchers suggest that the full experience of living with tinnitus from a patients perspective has been under-investigated. The answers may lie in something hidden.
Before we continue on with the research, here is a video from Dr. Ross Hauser that describes the patient conditions and what we look for in treatment possibilities.
What Can I Do About It
The most important thing you can do about your tinnitus is discuss it with your physician. Often you will be sent for a hearing test, because most tinnitus is associated with some degree of hearing loss. The hearing test will often provide additional information to the physician about whether further tests are necessary.
If it is determined that tinnitus is caused by any of the conditions previously noted, treatment aimed at those conditions may offer relief. If there is hearing loss, hearing aids may help both hearing and tinnitus. Distraction techniques such as a white-noise machine or background noise may also help, particularly during sleep.
One of the challenges in treating non-pulsatile, benign tinnitus is that there are few medications that reliably resolve symptoms. It is also difficult to find medical therapies for tinnitus, because we are still working to identify a specific location where tinnitus originates. Despite this challenge, there is new research showing effective non-medication approaches to tinnitus, One example of this is neural stimulation techniques, which have shown promise in appropriate patients.
The most effective treatment for non-pulsatile, benign tinnitus is cognitive behavioral therapy. Specific behavioral therapy, called tinnitus retraining therapy, has consistently been shown to reduce tinnitus compared to other treatment modalities. This can also aid in addressing any underlying stress or anxiety about the condition.
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Other Diseases & Medical Conditions
- Tinnitus is a reported symptom of the following medical conditions:
- Metabolic Disorders: Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Anemia
- Autoimmune Disorders: Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia
- Blood Vessel Disorders: High Blood Pressure, Atherosclerosis
- Psychiatric Disorders: Depression, Anxiety, Stress
- Vestibular Disorders: Ménière’s Disease,Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Otosclerosis
- Tumor-Related Disorders : Acoustic Neuroma, Vestibular Schwannoma, other tumorous growths
Again, a person experiencing tinnitus should not assume that he/she has one of the medical conditions listed above. Only a trained healthcare provider can appropriately diagnose the underlying cause of tinnitus.
Track Your Tinnitus Symptoms
Having a good grasp of the;tinnitus sounds you hear, when you hear them and how often you hear them;may be able to help your hearing care professional or physician;determine the best way to treat your tinnitus. Keeping a symptom diary for a few weeks is a good idea.
A tinnitus evaluation from a hearing healthcare practitioner will begin with a series of questions designed to get a clear description of your symptoms such as:
- How long has this been going on?;
- Is it regular or constant?
- Are the symptoms worse at certain points of the day?
- Which ear is causing the issue? Both?
- How loud is the noise?
- Is the pitch high or low?
- Is the issue extremely bothersome or just a little irritating?
- Are there certain conditions that make the symptoms worse, such as exposure to noise or caffeine intake?
- Does the sound ever change?
- Do you also suspect you might have hearing loss? Tinnitus can be a symptom of hearing loss.
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Jesses love for attending rock concerts without ear protection caused him to develop noise-induced hearing loss in his right ear. He now uses his personal experience and passion for words to write about hearing loss and the benefits of wearing hearing aids.
What Exactly Is Tinnitus
To be honest, researchers are not 100% sure what tinnitus is. But what they do know is that it has a high correlation with hearing loss. Its typically described as a ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the ears. Approximately 50 million Americans experience some form of tinnitus, so its safe to say youre in good company if your ears are ringing as you read this article. Ten to twenty percent will experience chronic tinnitus . Symptoms most commonly occur in people over the age of 40. However, people of all ages are susceptible to some form of disruptive and persistent ear ringing.
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How Common Is Tinnitus
Tinnitus is common and can occur at any age. Most people have an occasional episode of tinnitus after going to a loud concert or disco. For most people, this is temporary and soon goes. As many as 1 in 10 people have persistent tinnitus that is mild and not very troublesome. However, about 1 in 100 people have tinnitus which persists most of the time, and severely affects their quality of life.;
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Can Tinnitus Be Prevented Or Avoided
To prevent tinnitus or keep it from getting worse, avoid long-term exposure to loud noises and activities that put you at risk for hearing loss. If you know youre going to be around loud noises, take precautions by wearing earplugs or earmuffs. If you listen to music through headphones, keep the volume low.
If you have tinnitus, avoid things that seem to make it worse. These may include nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine.
It Seems That The Combination Of Tinnitus And Postural Instability Begins As A Cervical Pain Syndrome
In January 2021, publishing in The International Tinnitus Journal, Henk M Koning, MD, Ph.D., also noted that:
In patients with tinnitus as the main complaint, 64% of the patients have also cervical pain, and in patients with cervical pain as the main complaint, 44% of the patients have tinnitus. Both groups of patients have in common a high prevalence of postural instability and dizziness, degeneration of the intervertebral disc between the fifth and seventh cervical vertebrae, and a large anterior spur in front of the fifth cervical vertebrae. Patients with cervical pain as the main complaint have more degeneration of the intervertebral disc between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae, a larger anterior spur in front of the third cervical vertebrae, and more loss of cervical lordosis.
Postural instability is an important discriminant factor in patients with cervical pain and in patients with tinnitus as the main complaint. In patients with cervical pain postural instability was associated with the occurrence of tinnitus. In patients with tinnitus, there is evidence for two profiles of somatic tinnitus, discriminated by the occurrence of postural instability and low-frequency hearing loss. It seems that the combination of tinnitus and postural instability begins as a cervical pain syndrome and that the tinnitus aggravates in time. . .
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Tinnitus And Loud Noise
Loud noise will make tinnitus worse. To avoid further exposure to loud noise:
- wear ear protection such as earmuffs or earplugs for activities such as mowing the lawn, using a chainsaw or playing or listening to live music
- be aware of how loud is too loud if you have to shout to make yourself heard when someone is standing about one metre from you, the noise level is too loud and will make your tinnitus worse
- if you use headphones to listen to music or other audio content, use noise cancelling headphones to block out background noise and enable you to keep the volume low. Its recommended that you keep the volume to lower than 80 per cent, and limit your listening to no more than 90 minutes per day.
What Causes Tinnitus
Tinnitus can develop gradually over time or occur suddenly. It’s not clear exactly why it happens, but it often occurs along with some degree of hearing loss.
Tinnitus is often associated with:
- age-related hearing loss
- a middle ear infection
- Ménière’s disease a condition that also causes hearing loss and vertigo
- otosclerosis an inherited condition where an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear causes hearing loss
However, around one in every three people with tinnitus doesn’t have any obvious problem with their ears or hearing.
Read more about the causes of tinnitus.
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What Is The Outlook
Many people with tinnitus improve, with or without any treatment. Between 2 and 5 out of every 10 people with tinnitus improve within five years. Even if it does not go completely, it can become less severe or less frequent. How troublesome tinnitus is tends to go up and down.
For some people, tinnitus is just a little annoying. On the other end of the scale, for others it can really reduce their enjoyment of life. It may:
Doctors Find Something Is Missing In A Tinnitus Examination It Is A Look At The Neck
In December 2018, Israeli doctors summed up a big problem in tinnitus examinations in one simple sentence. In their study published in The Journal of International Advanced Otology, this is what they said:
- Physicians routinely perform an otoscopic examination, whereas other relevant possible physical findings, such as temporomandibular joint disorders or neck trauma, are less frequently examined.
For many people with;tinnitus, a simple look in the ear for ear wax buildup or infection can be an effective way to handle problems of tinnitus by handling the problems of ear wax and ear infection. But what about persistent tinnitus? How many times can we look inside a patients ear looking for an answer that may not be in the ear?
Doctors do look at the neck, but what they may be looking for is a neck mass or a neck tumor, an obvious anatomical deformity that may lead them towards neurological disorders. But what if there is an anatomical deformity that is not so obvious? Cervical neck ligament damage causes hypermobility in the cervical spine and pressure on the nerves that run through the vertebrae and the nearby circulatory system into the neck and head?
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Why Do I Have This Noise In My Ears
Although we hear tinnitus in our ears, its source is really in the networks of brain cells that make sense of the sounds our ears hear. A way to think about tinnitus is that it often begins in the ear, but it continues in the brain.
Scientists still havent agreed upon what happens in the brain to create the illusion of sound when there is none. Some think that tinnitus is similar to chronic pain syndrome, in which the pain persists even after a wound or broken bone has healed.
Tinnitus could be the result of the brains neural circuits trying to adapt to the loss of sensory hair cells by turning up the sensitivity to sound. This would explain why some people with tinnitus are oversensitive to loud noise.
Tinnitus also could be the result of neural circuits thrown out of balance when damage in the inner ear changes signaling activity in the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes sound. Or it could be the result of abnormal interactions between neural circuits. The neural circuits involved in hearing arent solely dedicated to processing sound. They also communicate with other parts of the brain, such as the limbic region, which regulates mood and emotion.
Treatment Of Ear Ringing Or Buzzing
Attempts to identify and treat the disorder causing tinnitus are often unsuccessful. However, correcting any hearing loss relieves tinnitus in about half of people.
Treatment of stress and other mental conditions may help. Many people are reassured if they learn that their tinnitus is not caused by a serious disorder. Caffeine and other stimulants can worsen tinnitus, so people should try to avoid these.
Various techniques can help make tinnitus tolerable, although the ability to tolerate it varies from person to person. Many people find that background sound helps mask the tinnitus and helps them fall asleep. Some people play background music. Other people use a tinnitus masker, which is a device worn like a hearing aid that produces a constant level of neutral sounds. For the profoundly deaf, an implant in the cochlea may reduce tinnitus but is only done for people with severe to profound hearing loss in both ears. If these standard techniques are not helpful, people may want to seek treatment in clinics that specialize in the treatment of tinnitus.
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Tinnitus And The Trigeminal Nerve
A paper in the May 2020 issue of the Journal of Headache and Pain suggested, as we have seen in many patients, that trigeminal neuralgia patients have a significantly increased risk of tinnitus within 1 year of trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis compared to those without the diagnosis. Trigeminal neuralgia centers on what is happening to the trigeminal nerve which carries pain, feeling, and sensation from the brain to the skin of the face. In the case of trigeminal neuralgia, most medical professionals cannot find the cause of why this pain started. This is borne out by the definition of trigeminal neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia means that there is nerve pain in the nerve distribution of the trigeminal nerve.;It actually does not tell a person what is causing the condition.
As we stated above, tinnitus can be caused by many physical challenges. We will not suggest that every incidence of tinnitus can be treated by addressing;chronic neck pain and chronic neck instability. The purpose of this article was to offer a missing diagnosis for people who have had extended medical care and seemingly no answers. We are trying to help people who are on medications and other cope management techniques by looking at something they may not have had explored, an examination of the stability of their cervical spine.
Hearing Aids Can Do Double Duty
Hearing aids;may be the answer to tinnitus for people who have hearing loss.
By using hearing aids, you not only help reduce the awareness of the tinnitus, but you also improve your ability to hear as well, says Dr. Sandridge.
Some hearing aids have a built-in sound generator that produces ocean wave sounds or white or pink noise. These sounds provide relief by decreasing your awareness of the tinnitus by having your brain pay attention to the other neutral, non-threatening sounds. This promotes a process called habituation , which eventually will allow you to be aware of your tinnitus only when you actively listen for it.
In this case, the tinnitus is not gone, but you no longer pay attention to it unless you focus on it, she says. Our goal is to get you to the point where youre basically tuning the tinnitus out.
All in all, dont just wait and hope your tinnitus will go away. Talk to your primary care physician and audiologist if you notice ringing in your ears or other problems with your hearing. They can help you pinpoint your problem and help you find the relief you need.
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In This Video Ross Hauser Md Discusses General Problems Of Ear Pain Ear Fullness Sound Sensitivity And Hearing Problems
Here is a transcript summary:
- Dr. Hauser makes a connection between cervical spine/neck instability and cause problems related to the ear and hearing
- Many patients we see have ear pain, ear fullness, or sensitivity to sound.
- Some of these people have a long medical history that may include visits to the ENT and other specialists and doctors. Some may get a diagnosis of Menieres disease.
- In many of these patients, their problems of tinnitus, Menieres disease, dizziness, ear fullness, decreased hearing, or sensitivity to sound may be traced to problems of cervical spine/neck instability.
- Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
- The eustachian tube is the canal that connects the inner ear and the upper throat. It regulates the pressure within the inner ear.
- Eustachian Tube Dysfunction can occur when the muscles of the eustachian tube, the tensor veli palatini, the levator veli palatini, the salpingopharyngeus, and the tensor tympani, do not perform their job of opening and closing the tube. This can cause fluid build-up in one ear as opposed to the other. This can cause problems of inner ear fullness, ear pain, and loss of sense of balance. Cervical spine instability can cause muscle disruption.
Treating Cervical Spine Disorders Can Result In A Reduction Of Tinnitus
The idea that treating cervical spine instability as a method of treating tinnitus, is an idea that we, as well as many researchers and clinicians, have had for a long time. Yet recent research still has to present this idea as novel or new. Henk M Koning, MD, Ph.D., whose research is presented in this article published a paper in The International Tinnitus Journal in November 2020 where he stated at the very onset Treating cervical spine disorders can result in a reduction of tinnitus.
Here are the summary learning points:;
- The object of the study was to determine the benefit of therapy of the third and fourth cervical nerves in reducing tinnitus
- There were 37 tinnitus patients who were treated with injection into the third and fourth cervical nerves
- In a group of tinnitus patients, 19% of the patients reported less tinnitus after therapy of the third and fourth cervical nerves. Most of the patients had a moderate reduction of 25% to 50%.
- At 3.8 months, 50% of the successfully treated patients still had a positive effect. No adverse events of the procedure were observed.
Dr. Konings further research is presented throughout this article.
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Strategies For Managing Tinnitus
The more attention you pay to your tinnitus, the harder it is to become used to it. Try to:
- overcome your fears of tinnitus;
- change your perception of it from a sound to be feared to a benign sound that cannot harm you
- keep busy focus on enjoyable and stimulating activities
- normalise your life as much as possible; do not let your tinnitus stop you doing the things you enjoy
- find a way to become habituated to it. The 4 Keys Program explains this process. A DVD is available to guide you through the steps to achieve habituation.
Beware Of False Claims Of Cures That Are Not Realistic
Be aware that many scams are claiming to cure tinnitus. It would be great if eating certain foods or taking a concoction of herbs could heal tinnitus. But this isnt reality. Dont fall for these claims. As challenging as it is to cope with living with tinnitus, spending vast amounts of money on fake remedies will only make you feel worse.
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Chronic Tinnitus: When It Won’t Go Away
Occasional bouts of brief noise that lasts a few seconds is considered “transient” and something most people experience from time to time. A diagnosis of chronic tinnitus;usually means a person reports episodes of tinnitus that last for at least five minutes and occur;at least twice a week. You may also experience tinnitus spikes.
It’s possible to have tinnitus in just one or both ears, and it can come and go. Tinnitus can get loud enough to interfere with concentration, and sometimes, it can mask natural sounds.;Tinnitus is most commonly experienced by adults, especially those who have hearing loss.
Tinnitus is most commonly experienced by adults;who have hearing loss.
In a very large survey of American adults with tinnitus, nearly a third reported having symptoms nearly constantly. About the same number of people noticed tinnitus at bedtime.
Note: If you experience tinnitus and;sudden hearing loss, seek prompt treatment.;