Tinnitus (Ear ringing)
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is any perception of sound that does not come from an
Objective tinnitus can be heard by other people (5% of all tinnitus
cases). It is usually caused by vascular or muscular disorders and can
be treated medically or surgically.
Subjective tinnitus is heard only by the individual (95% of all
tinnitus cases). Subjective tinnitus occurs in over 80% of individuals
with sensorineural hearing
loss. It has a variety of causes, making treatment difficult to
What does tinnitus sound like?
Tinnitus can sound like anything from high-pitched ringing to
whooshing sounds to your heartbeat. Crickets, ocean waves, roaring,
and buzzing are some reported sounds perceived by individuals with
tinnitus. Tinnitus can constant, or last for only seconds at a time.
What causes tinnitus?
Most tinnitus occurs due to the damage of hair cells in the
cochlea, causing them to send signals to the brain when no sound
is present. Age can have an effect on hair cell impairment, as well as
exposure to loud noise. Cardiovascular problems and certain drugs can
also have detrimental effects on these hair cells.
Here is a partial list of things that may cause tinnitus:
High/low blood pressure
Tumors (very rare)
Diseases of the
Medications: Anti-inflammatories, Antibiotics,
Sedatives, Antidepressants, Aspirin, Ototoxic medications
My tinnitus really disrupts my
daily life. What help is there?
There is no cure for tinnitus at the present time. However, certain
treatments are available:
Hearing aids may mask the tinnitus
Alternative treatments: Herbal preparations, Vitamin
Resources and more information:
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