Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus (literally “ringing” in Latin) is characterized by ringing, buzzing, or noises that originate in the ear or the head, and can cause discomfort and stress.
Though this condition is usually not dangerous, it can be a symptom of another health problem or underlying condition. Tinnitus can cause so many stressful side effects, including fatigue, sleep problems, concentration difficulty, memory problems, depression, anxiety, and irritability. Though it's not necessarily serious, it can be quite bothersome.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus may have several underlying causes. It is advisable to mention this to your primary care physician so they may begin investigating the condition by first finding out what kind of tinnitus you suffer from. There are two general types of tinnitus: subjective and objective tinnitus.
More common, subjective tinnitus means that only you can hear the noise or ringing in your ears. Objective tinnitus means that it may be possible for others to also hear the noise or ringing while performing an exam.
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of things from certain medications to a variety of health problems. Your physician will take a detailed history of your health and medications, perform a thorough examination, and refer you for a hearing test or conduct other tests of the auditory system.
Possible causes of tinnitus include:
- Age-related hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noise
- Earwax buildup
- Abnormal bone growth in the ear
- Meniere's disease
- Stress and depression
- Head or neck injuries
- Benign tumor of the cranial nerve
- Long-term aspirin use
In some cases, the exact cause of the tinnitus may not be found but serious underlying conditions can be ruled out.
How is Tinnitus Treated?
Tinnitus sometimes resolves on its own. Tinnitus may be treated by addressing the underlying condition. Depending on the individual case, some tinnitus treatments may include:
- Magnesium, zinc
- Vitamin B supplementation
- Homeopathic remedies
- Cranial-sacral therapy
- Hyperbaric oxygen
It is important to note that there is not one treatment that will work for each individual.
Majority of our patient who also have hearing difficulty find a great deal of tinnitus reduction with the use of amplification. By improving your hearing ability with hearing aids, the brain does not pay attention to the bothersome tinnitus as it has been.
Sound therapy is another option that can help lessen the severity of tinnitus. We use a sound-generating device as part of an overall program that includes informational counseling and other activities to help ease the stress of tinnitus. Sound therapy includes an individual regimen of listening to specific sounds such as soothing tones or customized music through headphones/earbuds to help re-focus the auditory system.
In general, tinnitus treatments may not make the tinnitus disappear completely, but we can help make it less noticeable and ease your stress and anxiety from it. Dr. Oden and Ms. Walter can help develop the best tinnitus treatment option for you.