Tinnitus is a problem in which the patient hears noise or ringing in the ears. It's a common problem. However, it is not a condition itself, it's a symptom of another underlying condition. Such underlying conditions may include ear injury, age related hearing loss or a disorder of the circulatory system.
It's a very irritating condition but it is not very serious. Treatment can improve the condition.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is annoying because you keep hearing a sound which is not present. The most important symptoms of the problem includes
The noise that patients hear may be of different pitch. Some of they may hear a low roar and others may hear a high squeal. Sometimes they may hear sounds so loud that interferes with the ability to hear actual sound and concentrate.
There are two types of Tinnitus
Subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus
This is the tinnitus that only you hear. It is the most common form. Problems in your inner, outer or middle ear may cause this type of tinnitus. Problems with the part of the brain that is capable of interpreting nerve signals as sound or with the hearing nerves may also result in subjective tinnitus.
During an examination, your doctor can also hear this type of tinnitus. It is a rare type and it is caused by muscle contractions, blood vessel problem or problems with the inner ear bone.
Causes of tinnitus
There are several causes that may increase the intensity of tinnitus. However, in many cases of the problem, the exact cause is not known.
A very common cause of this problem is inner ear cell damage. There are some tiny delicate hairs present in your inner ear. Depending on the pressure of sound waves, they move. The movement works like a trigger, which activates ear cells and their release and electrical signals. The signal moves from your ear to the brain. The brain can interpret such signals as sound. If somehow the hairs present inside your inner ear or damaged, licking of electrical impulses may happen while transmitting the electrical signals to the brain. Such leakage cause tinnitus.
Some other ear problems may also cause tinnitus. They include injuries, conditions affecting nerves in the ear and the hearing centre present in the brain and some other health conditions.
Some of the most common causes of tinnitus
Age-related hearing loss
With age, people lose hearing power. This happens around the age of 60. Hearing loss may result in tinnitus.
Exposure to loud noise
Loud noises from heavy equipment's, firearms, and chainsaws may result in tinnitus. Portable music devices including iPods and MP3 players can also result in noise related hearing loss if they are used for a prolonged period of time. Long-term exposure to any loud sound may result in permanent hearing loss.
Earwax helps you by protecting your ear canal. It traps dirt and reduces growth of bacteria in the ear. If lots of earwax accumulate, it may become hard and may not be washed away in a natural way. Such a condition may result in hearing loss and eardrum irritation. It may lead to tinnitus.
Ear bone changes
Changes in the ear bone may also cause tinnitus. If the bones of your middle ear stiffen for some reason, it may hamper with your ability to hear and may result in tinnitus. Such a condition appear due to abnormal bone growth and it may be genetical.
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