treatments for tinnitus
treatments for tinnitus
What You Should Know about Tinnitus
What is Tinnitus?
Before you can understand what tinnitus could mean in your life, you need to know what it is. The condition of tinnitus (pronounced "tin-it-tus") is an unusual or abnormal noise in the ear. Tinnitus is not an inflammation in the ear like many people tend to think. Although, inflammation could be what caused it.
It is important to note that the noise heard by the person suffering from tinnitus originates from inside the ear and not from the environment. If you were hearing noises that was being caused from outside your body, you could block it but there is no way to block a noise from within your ear.
Tinnitus can show up and disappear randomly or it can be a constant noise that the person must listen to twenty-four hours a day. The noise can be slight and hardly noticeable or it can be very loud and severe, making this condition very annoying. For some people who have tinnitus for many years, the symptoms can have a serious impact on their quality of life and the ability to function normally.
The stress caused by tinnitus can affect work, relationships and more. Tinnitus can be hard to detect due to the fact that the symptoms can come and go, affect one or both ears and be a high pitched ringing noise or a low dull roaring sound. This makes it harder to diagnose and can leave the sufferer feeling frustrated and helpless.
This condition can take on many types of sounds. A ringing or roaring noise is the most common sound heard by tinnitus followed by buzzing, whistling, humming and a sound that resembles running water. There have been some people with tinnitus that reported hearing screeching sounds, chirping noises and even a very few that will hear musical sounds. However, the musical sounds are usually limited to the older patients and is very rare.
Keep in mind that if you have tinnitus you will be hearing sounds not voices. Hearing voices is another type of a condition and is actually a symptom of a type of hallucination. Most everyone that has tinnitus will also suffer from some degree of hearing loss and occasionally they may have “hyperacusis” which is described as being abnormally sensitive to sounds.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
As mentioned above, the most common symptom of tinnitus is the noise that you hear. These sounds make up the different types of tinnitus as it is categorized by the type of noise you hear. Most people with tinnitus will notice a whistling, hissing, buzzing, roaring or ringing sound in their ears but there are different sounds as well.
For example, if the sounds pulsate or if they seem to be irregular and non-stop with the beat of your heart it is called pulsatile tinnitus. A person with tonal tinnitus will hear a constant ringing that sounds like a single musical note repeating itself. Other not so common noises include a beeping sound or hearing more than one sound at a time.
Aside from the sounds that a person hears, tinnitus also includes having pain in the ear. This pain can be mild or severe. A sense of feeling dizzy or a little disoriented and headaches are also symptoms of tinnitus. These symptoms can range in difficulty and severity depending on the person. For some sufferers, the symptoms will be mild and manageable and for others they will be severe and very difficult to deal with.
Now that we know what it is, let's take a look into what can cause a person to have tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Usually when a person discovers they have tinnitus they start wondering why, what caused it and what steps can be taken to treat this condition? There are several things that can cause this condition but the most common is any type of ear disorder or trauma to the ear. Normally, it is hard for the health care provider to determine the exact cause of this condition but in some cases it is possible. You can help to determine your tinnitus cause by tracing your ear history and your experience with the symptoms to try to pinpoint the moment that they began and what could have happened to you at that time.
There are five parts associated with the ear that can be affected causing tinnitus to occur. Test will have to be run to try and determine which part of the ear is being affected and why. There are also other medical conditions that can cause this condition as well.
Here are the main causes of tinnitus
Damage to the cochlea
Inner ear conditions
Blocked ear canal
Repeatedly being around loud noises
Meniere’s disease caused by fluid gathering in the ears
Blocked Eustachian tube
Infections or fluid of the middle ear
Trauma to the ear
These are the most common causes of tinnitus however, it can also be caused from conditions that are not directly associated with the ear. You will find information about these conditions listed below.
When it comes to treating tinnitus, it is important to help discover your cause if at all possible because this can affect the treatment options and the manner in which treatment for the condition is given.
Types of Somatic Tinnitus
Somatic is a type of tinnitus that is caused from something other than an inner ear condition. Somatic tinnitus can be very loud and annoying, completely disrupting a person’s life. The most common cause of this type of tinnitus is head and neck injuries. These injuries can be caused from a car accident, sport related accident, a fall, a hard blow to the upper part of the body or anything else that can cause trauma to the head or neck. The symptoms will usually show up right after the accident and may intensify over time although this is not always the case.
Sometimes vascular problems can cause pulsatile tinnitus, which is a type of somatic tinnitus. It was given this name because anyone suffering from this condition can usually hear their own heartbeat within their ears. There is some good news concerning pulsatile tinnitus, which is that normally it is nothing serious to worry about. Many times it is simply more annoying than anything else.
The bad news is that there is nothing you can do to treat this type of somatic tinnitus and in some rare cases it could be the result of a bigger problem such as hardening of the arteries or aneurysms. Simply put, pulsatile tinnitus can be caused by any condition that creates turbulence or an increase in your blood flow. Therefore, medical conditions such as hypertension, high blood pressure and anemia can contribute to pulsatile tinnitus.
Another cause of tinnitus is Temporo-mandibular joint arthritis or TMJ for short. This type of tinnitus normally causes a screeching sound and it is a common type of somatic tinnitus. It is not sure how often TMJ causes tinnitus but since it is common for anyone suffering from TMJ to also have somatic tinnitus it is fairly safe to say that they are closely linked.
As with many problems that affect a persons hearing, somatic tinnitus can be caused simply by a person growing older. The process of aging can have an interesting impact on the body and this is one side effect. Low levels of thyroid hormone production and hypothyroidism, which is not enough thyroid hormone located in the bloodstream, can also cause this condition.
Tinnitus can be induced by certain drugs in some cases. This is not as common as many people would like to believe but it does happen. Some of the drugs that have been associated with causing tinnitus are as follows:
salicylates such as aspirin,
some anti-inflammatory pain relievers.
The auditory nerve is located between the brain and the ear. When this nerve is damaged by a viral infection or tumors it can cause a person to have tinnitus. Microvascular compression syndrome can also affect this nerve. In extremely rare cases tinnitus may be caused from an injury to the brain itself or the brainstem. Some people that suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency also suffer from tinnitus.
So as you can see, there are many things that can be the cause of this condition, which is why it can be very difficult and time consuming trying to locate the precise cause. You may be required to go through several tests before you discover the cause and in many cases you may never know. Some doctors do not try hard to determine the cause but instead focus on known treatment options but you can still work to determine the possible cause of your tinnitus for yourself.
One question that has been brought up quite frequently is whether or not tinnitus is hereditary. Even though it is possible for a person to inherit some type of ear disorder that can contribute to tinnitus, there is no indication that the condition itself is hereditary.
Steps in Diagnosing Tinnitus
When you are having any type of problems with your hearing, the first step is to see a professional otologist or otolaryngologist to be examined. The first thing they will do is to get a complete background history of the patient. This includes any medical problems that run in the family and any medication that you are taking. Make sure that you provide your doctor with all of this information to best of your ability. The more precise you are, the better he or she will be able to do their job.
They will perform a number of tests that will show if you may be suffering from tinnitus. They will start by performing a regular ear exam. This is a fairly simple exam that is performed with the aid of an otoscope. The examiner will check to see what condition the ear drum is in. He will need to see if it is inflamed or scarred and whether or not it is intact or moving. This is vital information that can help determine what type of tinnitus you are suffering from.
The otologist will also check the eyes of the patient to see if there is any swelling of the “optic disk”. This is the back portion of the eye and if swelling has occurred it can cause pressure that can in turn cause tinnitus. However, this is a rare condition. The examiner will also check for TMJ because almost twenty-eight percent of the people that have TMJ also have tinnitus.
Middle ear exams can be done to see if you have “tensor tympani syndrome” or “stapedius myoclonus syndrome”. The “tensor tympani syndrome” is more common and the person suffering from it usually hears sounds similar to a thumping. People that suffer from “stapedius myoclonus syndrome” usually hear what is described as a high pitched ticking sound.
There are more specific test that can be run to help diagnose tinnitus and its cause. X-rays, MRI and CT scans are among the most used because they can show any structural problems that may be present within the ear. The audiogram test will reveal how well a person can hear and recognize sounds. These tests can be very useful when determining the cause of tinnitus.
Your doctor may order a test to match the pitch of the sounds you are hearing. In this test you will hear a variety of sounds and you will be asked to identify the one that best matches the noises you hear. There is also a test that will match the loudness of the sounds you hear.
This test is accompanied by a Visual Analog Scale test that helps to determine how loud the noise you hear seems to be by placing it on a scale ranging from 0 to 10. The number 0 is the lowest and the number 10 is the highest. Most people suffering from tinnitus usually average between 5 and 7 on this scale showing that the noise usually is very high.
Another test is designed to measure the degree of sound that will be needed to cover up the sounds that you hear. This is used to determine what a person suffering from tinnitus would need if they wanted to mask the tinnitus to make it easier to live with.
Sometimes the service provider will order lab test to help determine if you have tinnitus. Audiogram is a test that can reveal sensorineural insufficiency that can be caused when a person has tinnitus. Neuropsychological test are done in many cases because tinnitus can very often be accompanied by OCD, depression and similar conditions. These tests can be quite useful because treating a person with these conditions can help to improve the tinnitus by reducing elements that can make the tinnitus worse.
Sometimes the health care provider may order specific test to check for pulsatile tinnitus. These are a series of test that can be performed with excellent results in determining if you have tinnitus. The test that you will be given will be based on the information that you provide the doctor with and by the results of the initial basic test.
Treatments Used for Tinnitus
Once a person discovers they have tinnitus the first thing they normally ask is, what treatments are available to help reduce or eliminate this condition? Many people are unfortunately told that there are no treatment options available or that there is nothing that can be done. Far too many people have been told they will just have to "learn to live with it".
The truth of the matter is there are treatment options available and there are some things that can be done to treat or at least reduce your symptoms of tinnitus. Treatment most always begins at the root of the problem.
The homeopathic tinnitus remedies available from this site have long been recognized as being very effective in the treatment and relief of tinnitus symptoms for tinnitus that is caused by the following conditions:
Tinnitus from exposure to loud noises
Tinnitus resulting from stress
Tinnitus caused from sinus infections
Meniere’s disease related tinnitus
The treatments will vary depending on the type and severity of tinnitus that you have. It is possible to eliminate or greatly reduce the symptoms of tinnitus in some cases if the doctor can determine exactly what caused the condition.
Here are a few of the causes that can sometimes be determined:
The main problem is finding the specific cause of tinnitus because even when extensive test are conducted, it is not always possible to pinpoint the cause. It is hard to get rid of something if you don’t even know what caused the symptoms to start in the first place. Combined with the fact that it is difficult to see the symptoms in tests sometimes and it makes tinnitus a very difficult condition to treat.
This is one of the main reasons that so many people do go untreated. However, don’t let this discourage you because it is possible for you to receive relief by reducing the symptoms to make it make more tolerable. You can learn to take control of your tinnitus instead of letting it control you.
In some cases people with tinnitus can receive some relief from using medication. The medications normally used are anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and sleeping medications. The reason these drugs are used is because they can improve a person’s emotional state of mind.
By helping the person to feel more relaxed and helping them get a good night sleep, the symptoms of tinnitus can be reduced. This is due to the fact that when a person with tinnitus becomes upset and worried the symptoms tend to increase. There are also a few devices that are designed to help treat tinnitus. These are listed below.
There are a few special pieces of equipment that you can buy that can be used to help reduce the symptoms caused by tinnitus such as hearing aids. These devices will help to improve the person's hearing. This in turn will allow other sounds to be heard that may ultimately cover up the annoying noises caused from this condition.
Due to the fact that these devices help to mask the sounds that a patient hears, they normally do provide some relief so they are especially useful for anyone that has suffered hearing loss along with the tinnitus. You will need to be tested to determine what type of hearing aid would be best suited for you. It is also suggested that you start with one of these devices to see if they do make a difference and if so, you can always buy a second one later if needed.
There are also other devices that are being offered to help mask the sounds created by tinnitus. These devices are based on the idea that tinnitus is worse when things are quiet. Therefore, any piece of equipment you can use that will give you something pleasurable to listen to that is similar to the sounds you hear from this condition will help to mask the noise and reduce your discomfort. For example, "white noise" as they call it is very helpful for many people suffering from tinnitus.
Masking the annoying sound that you hear regularly has been used successfully by many people with tinnitus. Your doctor will provide test that will help to determine what sounds would be the closest match to what you hear. This is an important step because the closer you match the sound, the more relief you should experience.
There are other forms of treatments used to treat tinnitus that are a little different and not drug related. However, at this time it is hard to say if they actually work or not.
These options are listed below:
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
The last option available when it comes to treatment used for tinnitus involves surgical treatments for this condition. However, this is only used with severe cases of tinnitus and only in special circumstances. Your doctor will not suggest surgery unless all other options have been tired and failed. Even then it will only be suggested in special cases.
If surgery is needed, then it requires the surgeon to have a very high degree of technical skill. For this reason it is usually only done in university centers and teaching hospitals that have special departments set up just for performing surgery for tinnitus patients. Surgery is not guaranteed to work and in many cases it does not. It all depends on what caused you to have tinnitus in the first place.
If you suffer from tinnitus it is important for you to see your health care provider because it is possible for this condition to be the result of a more serious disorder that needs treatment. Even if the cause cannot be found and there is nothing available to help reduce your discomfort, at the very least you have ruled out other medical conditions that could have an adverse effect on your health.
If you can not find a treatment that works for you there is still a bit of good news. Patients have reported that tinnitus will become more tolerable to live with over time if the symptoms cannot be eliminated. This at least will help you regain some control over the way tinnitus affects your life.
How to Live With Tinnitus
Considering the fact that many cases of tinnitus can’t be helped, millions of people must learn how to live with tinnitus while not allowing it to interfere with their everyday life. You can’t let it get you depressed or allow it to interfere with your job and personal life. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help make living with tinnitus a little easier. Here are some ways you can learn how to live with tinnitus.
The first thing that you need to do is watch your diet. What you eat and drink can make a big difference in how you feel. For example, foods and beverages that contain caffeine tend to increase the symptoms of tinnitus although; it is a little unclear as to why. Salt also seems to increase the noise that you hear from this condition. Therefore, limiting your salt intake and the amount of caffeine you consume can also help reduce the symptoms you experience in some cases.
You should avoid being in places where you will be exposed to loud noises that can increase your symptoms. This includes loud movie theaters, night clubs and so forth. If you work in a loud environment, then you need to make sure that you always wear protection for your ears. This will help to prevent further damage that will make your condition worse.
Anyone with tinnitus will notice that the sound will usually get worse at night. Playing a radio softly or some other background noise when you are ready to go to sleep can help to mask the sounds you hear. This in turn can help you get a good night's sleep. Many people have also found that if you sleep with your head propped up on pillows it can decrease the symptoms by reducing any head congestion that you may have and pressure within the ears.
Make sure that you get enough rest and plenty of exercise. When a person with tinnitus gets tired the symptoms tend to get worse. As the sound gets louder or more frequent it can interfere with your life even more. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can improve your overall health and relieve or reduce some of the symptoms you may be suffering with and make things easier for you.
Many people that suffer from tinnitus have found relief in seeking psychological help because dealing with this condition can be very depressing, aggravating and stressful. The sounds you hear can start to get on your nerves making you anxious and irritable. This in turn, increases the symptoms you are dealing with and it is a vicious cycle that seems to never end. By seeking professional help and learning how to relax you can reduce this or prevent this cycle from occurring.
Education is the key to many things and living with tinnitus is no exception to this rule. Educate yourself and learn as much as you can about this condition and it will help you deal with it much better. By learning as much as you can you will know more about what to do and what not to do to help improve your symptoms. For example, a person with tinnitus should avoid taking medications that have been known to contribute to this condition or it will make the symptoms worse.
Joining organizations designed for people that suffer from tinnitus can help you learn ways to deal with this condition or at the very least it will give you someone to talk to about what you are going through. Of course, this will depend on each individual as drawing more attention to the problem may make the symptoms worse for some.
Read Ellen's book, it is jam packed with her experiences with tinnitus and tells how she went from being suicidal to the happy positive person she is today. It took time of course, that is why the book is 120 pages, but it is an easy read and one that every tinnitus sufferer should read.
It is free and you can download it right here.
Interesting Tinnitus Facts
It is believed that approximately 66 million Americans suffer from constant tinnitus while over half of Americans have intermittent tinnitus. Then you have another six percent of the population that suffers from severe tinnitus and approximately seven million Americans cannot live a normal life due to this condition being so severe. The numbers in other countries are staggering as well although there are not as many records kept of tinnitus cases in some countries.
This proves that tinnitus is a lot more common than ever believed in the past. A total of approximately forty-four million Americans suffer from this condition. Although the exact cause of tinnitus is not completely known, there are a few medical conditions that are closely linked and can be contributed to causing tinnitus such as ear problems and hearing loss.
Another interesting fact about this condition is that it is believed that a person's jaws sensory input interacts with the pathways of hearing. Therefore, opening and closing the mouth can cause the tinnitus to change its frequency or the volume of the sounds heard.
Tinnitus is a condition that can greatly interfere with a person's normal life. Things you once loved may no longer be of interest to you and you can feel constant stress and anxiety. If you have this condition you always hear the noise no matter where you are or what you are doing. It can cause depression, anxiety and frustration that highly interferes with your quality of life. If you have tinnitus, seek help. It may be possible for you to find a treatment that works for you or at the very least, reduce the amount of discomfort you experience.