Tinnitus or commonly called as ringing in the ears is the constant buzzing or whistling noise in the absence of any sound in the environment. It is not a disease, but a symptom and usually occurs after the age of 50 years. The sound may be heard in one or both the ears, or in your head. If you have tinnitus, you also may experience sleep disorders, depression, and difficulty in concentration.
CAUSES OF TINNITUS
* EXPOSURE TO LOUD NOISE: It can damage your ability to hear and ear ringing is often the first sign of serious hearing loss. Sudden bursts of sound, such as explosions or listening to high volume music on MP3 players or iPods can severely impact your eardrum.
* EAR WAX BLOCKAGE: An excessive buildup of earwax or cerumen, particularly if it is near the eardrum, is another common factor. Wax can alter the pressure in your ear and creates actual sounds that your physician only can hear through a stethoscope. Avoid cleaning the wax at home with cotton swabs or any other objects.
* EAR BONE CHANGES: Stiffening of ear bones in your middle ear may also be the leading cause of tinnitus.
* AGEING: As our hearing worsens in general as we grow old, tinnitus can also occur. It is because the tiny hair cells in the ears play a major role in hearing, and naturally, over time you lose these hairs.
* HEAD & NECK INJURIES & TMJ DISORDERS: Problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), a joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull, can also lead to tinnitus. Traumatic injury to the head or neck can also affect the inner ear or functioning of the brain linked to the hearing.
If you are suffering from any hearing problems, then you should see an audiologist soon to determine if a hearing loss is present. In many cases, tinnitus is associated with hearing loss.
* TINNITUS RETRAINING THERAPY (TRT): Aims to ultimately eliminate the tinnitus perception followed by counseling. It combines auditory therapy properly fitting hearing aids and therapeutic noise generators to provide the brain with maximum environmental sounds to reduce the perception.
* COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY (CBT): This therapy is offered by clinical psychologists and is effective in minimizing stress and producing an adaptation to tinnitus.
* CHANGES IN DIET: Try reducing your intake of salt, caffeine, and alcohol are some substances which make your tinnitus worse. For some, herbal remedies or vitamin B12 may also be helpful. Please consult your doctor before taking any sort of supplements. Apart from the emotional and psychological effects, there are no such physiologic complications of tinnitus. However, when the tinnitus is severe, the results can be devastating affecting the quality of life. So, it's better you get it diagnosed from the doctor before you get into trouble.