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Tinnitus – Ringing in the ears

Posted in Ear, Tinnitus on Jul 07, 2020

Tinnitus – Ringing of ears

What is Tinnitus? [1]

Once diagnosed with tinnitus people usually jump to the treatment of this condition. However, knowing and understanding this condition is as important as the treatment.

Firstly, it must be made clear that tinnitus is not a disorder or a disease in fact it is a symptom of any underlying condition. These conditions include circulatory disorders, hearing problems, or ear injury.

Tinnitus is mainly defined as the ringing of ears or perception of sound without any stimulus. In this condition, you might hear some sounds like ringing, humming, grinding, roaring, buzzing, hissing, chirping, clicking, and whistling.

These sounds are either continuous or intermittent which means that you might experience the ringing of ears in episodes or continuously for a long period of time. Usually, the loudness and frequency of sounds fluctuate.

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They are loudest when you are somewhere quiet especially before sleeping at night. The ringing of ears also disturbs the quality of sleep.  Tinnitus is a disturbing condition that is often associated with either already underlying medical conditions like hearing loss and ear injuries or it generates new conditions in the sufferer such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

A person with tinnitus often complains of loud sounds because they readily grow insensitive to them. Chronic and persistent or acute and temporary, tinnitus must be given serious attention. 

Types of Tinnitus [2]

There are two types of tinnitus;

Subjective tinnitus

This is the most common type of tinnitus. In this type, only you can hear the sounds in your ear while others cannot. The buzzing, humming and grinding voices are perceived by you only.

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Objective tinnitus

This is the rarest type of tinnitus. In this type, not only you but others can also hear the sounds in your hearing.

The sounds don’t radiate out of your ear but upon closely listening to your ear others can hear sounds. Usually, doctors use a stethoscope for this purpose.  People who have heart murmur usually present with whooshing sounds in their ears. Those people who smoke and drink alcohol are at a higher risk. Also, men are more prone to develop this condition than women. 

 

Who is at risk? [1][3]

Already 15-20% of people are experiencing tinnitus. 50 million people only in America are affected by this condition. According to statistics, people who are aged above 50 years are at higher risk of developing this condition. Not only old people but children and adolescents can also develop this condition. 

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How is it caused? 

The actual causes of tinnitus still could not be figured out but there are various conditions that often cause tinnitus. Surprisingly, 1 out of every 3 people with tinnitus doesn’t have a particular cause. 

  • As the age of a human being progresses the risk of developing tinnitus increases. This is called age-related tinnitus

  • Those people who are exposed to loud music or industrial sounds for long time periods also develop this condition. Repeated exposure to loud noise often weakens the hearing mechanism inside the inner ear. In such cases, the loud sounds damage the sensory cells. Once damaged they transmit signals of sound to the brain producing ringing in ears. This is called noise-induced tinnitus. 
  • Most of the time, it is just an accumulation of wax and nothing very serious. Over time the number of wax increases which leads to the ringing of ears. Carefully removing it eliminates the condition.
  • There is a possibility of infection in the middle ear because of which the wrong perception of sounds begins.
  • Rarely, a bony growth develops in the ear abnormally. It is a genetic condition called osteosclerosis. The abnormal growth produces tinnitus. 
  • Certain drugs also produce tinnitus as their side-effect. These drugs include NSAIDs, aspirin, antibiotics, antimalarial drugs, anti-convulsants, loop diuretics, and tricyclic antidepressants and chemotherapy drugs. There are over 200 drugs that possibly cause tinnitus if someone starts or stops taking them. 
  • In unfortunate scenarios, such as blasts in soldiers from the army and the people affected in blast often damages their brain tissues in areas that process sound signals. In such cases, the consequences include tinnitus and hearing loss. 
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction which is a painful condition that restricts the movement of this joint also causes tinnitus. 

 

What are the symptoms? 

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The symptoms of tinnitus are very clear. Patients dealing with it have a far better idea about the symptoms than anyone else. There is a continuous or on-and-off appearance of sounds that resemble high squeals or dull buzzing sounds.

There is no external sound but the sound in ears exists. Patients complain of irritation and disturbance because of these sounds as the sounds don’t let them concentrate on their work and studies. Moreover, tinnitus often leads to hearing loss, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Due to constant hissing and humming in ears the patients don’t only feel uncomfortable but also develop anxiety as it is equivalent to hallucinating. Initially, they often believe that they are hallucinating about the sounds in their ear and this is why awareness about this condition is very important. The symptoms tend to aggravate and alleviate in a disorderly fashion. 

 

How is it diagnosed? 

Tinnitus is difficult to diagnose. There is not a particular test for it. An otolaryngologist relies on the symptoms, history, and physical examination of the patient. Usually, they conduct a hearing test and ask a series of questions to understand the weightage of the condition.

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Sometimes, they conduct an imaging scan or blood test when they anticipate a tumor that might be damaging their hearing ability. 

 

Upper cervical chiropractic is the ultimate solution! 

Experienced chiropractic performs some diagnostic tests to understand the cause of tinnitus with a chiropractic perspective. Sometimes subluxation of upper cervical spine or distortion of cervical posture leads to inflammation and damage to nerves and vascular structures which aid in the development of tinnitus.

After the problem in a spinal arrangement is identified chiropractic experts perform safe and effective adjustments in the upper cervical vertebrae to align the vertebrae correctly. Most of the patients observe improvement after only one session. Within a few sessions, the condition improves altogether. 

Reference:

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