What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is described as a ringing in the ears. It’s a fairly common condition, afflicting 36 million Americans intermittently. However, there are a small percentage of people (7 million) that suffer from severe and chronic tinnitus; so much so that it affects their everyday lives.

There are two types of Tinnitus:

Subjective

This is Tinnitus that only you can hear. It is the most common type and is triggered by problems in the inner, middle, and outer ear. It can also be provoked by complications with the auditory nerves.

Objective

This category of Tinnitus can be heard by your doctor upon an examination. This rare type of tinnitus is usually caused by blood pressure problems, or by an injury to the inner ear bone.

Most forms of Tinnitus are caused by damage to the inner ear or cochlea. Other causes include:

  • Aneurysms
  • Brain tumors
  • Ear wax buildup
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Ear infection

Many medications have a side effect of Tinnitus, such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Aspirin
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diuretics
  • Marijuana
  • NSAIDS
  • Oral contraceptives

Anyone experiencing Tinnitus should have an examination of their ears, along with a hearing test. There is a discussion of a new Tinnitus treatment but more studies are required.  A CT or MRI scan may be also be ordered to rule out any serious conditions of Tinnitus.

Treatment of Tinnitus depends on what is causing it. This may mean:

  • Avoiding loud noises and sounds, especially prolonged exposure.
  • Having the was removed from the ear canal.
  • Stopping or changing medications to see if the Tinnitus goes away.
  • Taking antibiotics, if Tinnitus is caused by an ear infection.