What is tinnitus and how can it be prevented

summary

Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus is not caused by an external sound and other people usually cannot hear it. tinnitus is a common problem. it affects about 15% to 20% of people and is especially common in older adults.

Tinnitus is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an injury to the ear, or a problem with the circulatory system. For many people, tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause or with other treatments that reduce or mask the noise, making the tinnitus less noticeable.

symptoms

Tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ears, even though no external sound is present. however, tinnitus can also cause other types of phantom noises in the ears, including:

  • buzzing
  • roar
  • clicking
  • whistle
  • humming
  • Most people who have tinnitus have subjective tinnitus or tinnitus that only you can hear. Tinnitus noises can range in pitch from a low roar to a high-pitched screech, and you may hear it in one or both ears. in some cases, the sound can be so loud that it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. tinnitus can be present all the time, or it can come and go.

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    In rare cases, tinnitus can occur as a rhythmic pulsing or wheezing sound, often at the same time as your heartbeat. this is called pulsatile tinnitus. if you have pulsatile tinnitus, your doctor may be able to hear your tinnitus when performing an exam (objective tinnitus).

    when to see a doctor

    Some people don’t mind their tinnitus very much. For other people, tinnitus disrupts their daily life. If you have tinnitus that bothers you, see your doctor.

    Make an appointment to see your doctor if:

    • You develop tinnitus after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, and your tinnitus does not improve within a week.
    • Consult your doctor as soon as possible if:

      • You have hearing loss or dizziness with your tinnitus.
      • are experiencing anxiety or depression as a result of your tinnitus.
      • causes

        A number of health conditions can cause or worsen tinnitus. in many cases, an exact cause is never found.

        common causes of tinnitus

        In many people, tinnitus is caused by one of the following:

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          hearing loss. There are tiny, delicate hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea) that move when the ear receives sound waves. this movement activates electrical signals along the nerve from the ear to the brain (auditory nerve). your brain interprets these signals as sound.

          If the hairs inside your inner ear are crooked or broken (this happens as you age or when you’re regularly exposed to loud sounds), they can “leak” random electrical impulses to your brain, causing tinnitus.

        • Ear infection or blockage of the ear canal. Your ear canals may become blocked with a buildup of fluid (ear infection), earwax, dirt, or other foreign material. a blockage can change the pressure in the ear and cause tinnitus.
        • Head or neck injuries. Trauma to the head or neck can affect the inner ear, nerves of hearing, or brain function related to hearing. such lesions usually cause tinnitus in only one ear.
        • Medications. Several medications can cause or worsen tinnitus. In general, the higher the dose of these medications, the worse the tinnitus becomes. The unwanted noise often goes away when you stop using these medications.

          Medications known to cause tinnitus include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and certain antibiotics, anticancer drugs, diuretics, antimalarial drugs, and antidepressants.

          other causes of tinnitus

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          Less common causes of tinnitus include other ear problems, chronic health conditions, and injuries or conditions that affect the nerves in your ear or the hearing center in your brain.

          • meniere’s disease. tinnitus may be an early indicator of meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that can be caused by abnormal fluid pressure in the inner ear.
          • eustachian tube dysfunction. In this condition, the ear tube that connects the middle ear to the upper part of the throat remains expanded all the time, which can cause the ear to feel full.
          • changes in the bones of the ear. stiffening of the bones of the middle ear (otosclerosis) can affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition, caused by abnormal bone growth, tends to run in families.
          • muscle spasms in the inner ear. the muscles of the inner ear can tighten (spasm), which can cause tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. this sometimes happens for no explainable reason, but can also be caused by neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis.
          • temporomandibular joint (tmj) disorders Problems with the tmj, the joint on each side of the head in front of the ears where the lower jaw meets the skull, can cause tinnitus.
          • Acoustic neuroma or other tumors of the head and neck. Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops on the cranial nerve that extends from the brain to the inner ear and controls balance and hearing. other head, neck, or brain tumors can also cause tinnitus.
          • blood vessel disorders. Conditions that affect the blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or crooked or malformed blood vessels, can cause blood to flow more forcefully through the veins and arteries. these changes in blood flow can cause tinnitus or make tinnitus more noticeable.
          • Other chronic conditions. Conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have been associated with tinnitus.
          • risk factors

            Anyone can experience tinnitus, but these factors may increase your risk:

            • exposure to loud noises. Loud noises, such as from heavy equipment, chainsaws, and firearms, are common sources of noise-related hearing loss. Portable music devices, such as mp3 players, can also cause noise-related hearing loss if played at high volume for long periods of time. People who work in noisy environments, such as factory and construction workers, musicians, and soldiers, are at particular risk.
            • age. As you age, the number of functioning nerve fibers in your ears decreases, possibly causing hearing problems often associated with tinnitus.
            • gender. men are more likely to experience tinnitus.
            • tobacco and alcohol use. Smokers are at increased risk of developing tinnitus. drinking alcohol also increases the risk of tinnitus.
            • Certain health problems. Obesity, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, and a history of arthritis or head injuries increase the risk of tinnitus.
            • complications

              Tinnitus affects people differently. For some people, tinnitus can significantly affect quality of life. if you have tinnitus, you may also experience:

              • fatigue
              • stress
              • trouble sleeping
              • trouble concentrating
              • memory problems
              • depression
              • anxiety and irritability
              • headaches
              • problems with work and family life
              • Treating these linked conditions may not directly affect your tinnitus, but it may help you feel better.

                prevention

                In many cases, tinnitus is the result of something that cannot be prevented. however, some precautions can help prevent certain types of tinnitus.

                • Wear hearing protection. Over time, exposure to loud sounds can damage the nerves in your ears, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. try to limit your exposure to loud sounds. And if you can’t avoid loud sounds, wear ear protection to help protect your hearing. if you use chainsaws, are a musician, work in an industry that uses noisy machinery, or use firearms (especially guns or shotguns), always wear hearing protection over the ear.
                • turn down the volume. Prolonged exposure to amplified music without ear protection or listening to music at high volume through headphones can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
                • Take care of your cardiovascular health. Regular exercise, eating right, and taking other steps to keep your blood vessels healthy can help prevent obesity-related tinnitus and blood vessel disorders.
                • Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. These substances, especially when used in excess, can affect blood flow and contribute to tinnitus.
Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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