Hear Ringing in the Ear?
Ringing in the ear, or tinnitus, is a widespread condition that affects an estimated 50 million Americans. Some people describe it as a hissing, roaring, whooshing or buzzing sound instead of ringing. It may be sporadic or constant, and is a symptom of an underlying condition rather than a disease itself. There are many factors that can cause tinnitus.
12 million people have tinnitus so severe they seek medical attention
What are the causes of Tinnitus?
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Ear infections
- High blood pressure
- Head and neck tumors
- Blocked arteries
Nonpulsatile tinnitus – ringing in the ears not accompanied by any type of rhythm – is considerably more common. It can be caused by a variety of conditions including:
- Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss)
- Noise exposure
- Impacted earwax
- Otosclerosis (stiffening of the bones in the middle ear)
- Meniere’s disease
- TMJ disorders
- Ototoxic medications
- Thyroid conditions
- Head or neck trauma
- Acoustic neuromas
Tinnitus is also classified as being either subjective (heard only by the patient) or objective (ringing can be heard by an impartial observer, such as a doctor). Most cases of tinnitus are subjective in nature.
How is Tinnitus Treated?
Tinnitus can’t be cured, but there are treatments that make it less of a distraction. The approach taken depends on the underlying condition responsible for the ringing in your ears. Sometimes, simple steps like removing built-up earwax or switching to a new medication can markedly decrease symptoms.
Since tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, the use of hearing instruments may eliminate the bothersome tinnitus. Some hearing instruments have built-in tinnitus maskers.
Tinnitus retraining devices, which rely on patterned tones, are a newer technique that has proven beneficial to many patients.Learn more about out treatments