Tinnitus is an inner ear problem that affects roughly 32% of the American population and can be very debilitating depending on the severity. Tinnitus is a persistent ringing of the ears, which can be attributed to a variety of reasons. The severity of the condition can vary from person to person, from a barely noticeable ring to a persistent, loud, bell like sound. Let’s explore some of the symptoms, causes and treatments for tinnitus.
The Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is characterized by the hearing of a persistent sound in the absence of other ambient sounds. These sounds can range from very mild to almost deafening depending on the condition. Most people will report a ring like sound on both hears or mild hissing. In other cases, they report a loud bell, buzzing or roaring sound.
This phantom noise can vary in intensity and can be experienced in either one or both ears. In some cases, people may be able to ignore it and live with it unencumbered. However, in some cases, tinnitus can interfere with their hearing and capacity to concentrate. Tinnitus can be chronic or come and go depending on the person.
The Causes of Tinnitus
There are mainly two types of tinnitus, objective or subjective. Objective tinnitus, which is the most common, is when only the subject can hear the sound. This may be caused by a variety of reasons such as problems in your inner, middle or outer ear. Tinnitus can also be caused by issues with your auditory nerves or in your brain’s auditory pathways.
Subjective tinnitus, which is much more rare, is when the ringing can also be heard by a doctor during examination. This form of tinnitus can be due to a problem involving your blood vessels or middle ear bone.
Factors contributing to tinnitus may include repeated or sudden exposition to loud noises, or inner ear and upper respiratory infections like a cold, for instance.
The Treatments for Tinnitus
Your doctor may first try to identify underlying conditions which may be at cause for your tinnitus. For example, he may remove some excess wax in your ears or recommend that you switch or stop antibiotics altogether if they’re at fault. He may also treat any condition related to your blood vessels.
There is no medical procedure that can get rid of tinnitus completely, but things such as white noise devices can be used to reduce the severity of the noise. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a Tricyclic antidepressant to reduce the intensity of noises as well. But that is usually reserved for extreme cases.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If your symptoms are severe and persistent, you should consult a doctor right away. Also, if the tinnitus appeared after an incident, if would be wise to consult an ENT doctor to see if any severe damage was done to the eardrums. If you’re living in the NYC area and you’re suffering from tinnitus, contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best ENT doctor in NYC.
Contact us at 212-867-4813 to schedule a consultation.