What Is Tinnitus?
The sensation of a ringing, buzzing, humming or other noise in your ear or head may be tinnitus, which can indicate an underlying problem, such as hearing loss. In most cases, the sound lasts only a few moments. In other cases, however, it may persist or interfere with daily life, making it important to seek an evaluation and potential treatment.
What Are the Types of Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is most common in people over 40 but can appear at any age, including in children. It can occur in one or both ears and generally comes in two forms, pulsatile and nonpulsatile:
- Pulsatile tinnitus is caused when sounds are generated through the movement of muscles close to the ear, or when there are changes in blood flow or the ear canal.
- Nonpulsatile tinnitus results from problems with the structures in the inner ear, associated with hearing.
Both types of tinnitus can result from hearing loss. In children, the cause is typically acoustic trauma (unusually loud noises close to the ear).
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can have a number of different causes, including:
What Are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?
The most common symptom associated with tinnitus is a recurring or persistent buzzing, ringing, clicking, humming, or roaring sound in the ear or head. It may occur in one or both ears.
How Is Tinnitus Diagnosed?
Our otolaryngology expert, Dr. Daniel S. Samadi, will ask about any symptoms you or your child is experiencing. He will also conduct a physical examination and review the medical history.
Evaluation may include:
- Examination of the head, neck, or torso, which may provide clues to the underlying cause
- Examination of the ears with an otoscope, which allows a look at the external and middle ear
- Ordering an evaluation performed by an audiologist
- Ordering a CT scan or MRI
- Ordering a blood test
- Referral to a dentist, if dental problems are the suspected or potential source of the tinnitus
How Is Tinnitus Treated?
Effective treatment of tinnitus often depends on the underlying cause and can involve approaches ranging from earwax removal, hearing aids, or sound devices to medication changes, counseling, lifestyle changes, or therapies such as tinnitus retraining therapy.
In many cases, tinnitus can improve over time in a process called “habituation.” This means the brain adapts to tinnitus in a way that keeps the condition from negatively affecting your life.
If you or a loved one is experiencing tinnitus symptoms, relief is available. So please don’t wait. Contact ENT, Sinus & Hearing Care Center to schedule an evaluation today. We’re here to help!