Tinnitus affects 1 in 5 people. It is a symptom of an underlying condition such as hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory disorder in the ear. Tinnitus is a noise or ringing in the ears. It is not serious but is bothersome to the individual. It can worsen with age and can also improve with treatment. Appropriate treatment is identified by treating the underlying cause. Some treatments reduce or mask the ringing noise and make the tinnitus less noticeable.
Tinnitus involves hearing sounds when no external sound is present. Examples are Ringing, Buzzing, Roaring, Clicking or Hissing. It could be present all the time or it may come and go. It can occur in both ears or can occur in just one.
There are 2 kinds of Tinnitus:
1. Subjective: Only can be heard by individual and is usually caused by problems of outer, middle, or inner ear.
2. Objective: The physician can hear when he does an examination. This type is rare and is caused by a blood vessel problem or inner ear bone condition or muscular contractions.
The cause of tinnitus can be inner cell damage. Tiny delicate hairs line your inner ear and they move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. If the hairs inside your middle ear are bent or broken, they can leak random electrical impulses to the brain causing tinnitus.
Meniere’s Disease: A disorder that is caused by abnormal inner ear fluid pressure. This is also referred to as Pulsatile Tinnitus and usually only occurs in one ear. This build up of pressure is due to an increase in blood flow or turbulence like activity in blood vessels of the ear.
TMJ: Problems with alignment of the temper-mandibular joint
Head or neck Injury: Any traumatization of inner ear hearing nerves
Acoustic Neuroma: Non cancerous or benign tumor
Medications can cause tinnitus: Antibiotics like erythromycin, neomycin or vancomycin
Some cancer or chemo medications and diuretics like furosemide, quinine and aspirin in high doses
To treat tinnitus, we must first try to identify any underlying condition that may be associated with the ringing in the ears and tinnitus symptoms.
1. Ear Wax Removal
2. Treating a blood vessel condition
3. Change your medication that may be the cause
In some cases sound therapy or white noise may help suppress the ringing in the ears.
1. White noise machines
2. Hearing Aids
Medications to treat tinnitus do not cure it but reduce the severity of symptoms.
1. Tricyclic Antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil)
2. Alprazolam (Xanax) can reduce symptoms but have side effects of drowsiness and sedation
3. Lipo Flavonoid Supplementation is used often by Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists (ENT’s). How this works is that the lipo flavonoid helps block histamine production in the inner ear which likely causes inner ear disturbances. Lipo Flavonoids are available without a prescription and you can reach optimal effect after 60 days of therapy of this supplement.
All tinnitus patients are different and each condition is unique. Management of an individual’s condition is specific to each person’s underlying cause and outcomes differ for each patient.