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TINNITUS

OVERVIEW

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or "ringing” in the ears. Persons having tinnitus problem may also hear hissing, clicking, or whistling sounds. It can be temporary, or it can be chronic and persistent. It is a common problem, tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn't a condition itself — it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.

Symptoms

  • Tinnitus is a non-auditory, internal sound that can be intermittent or continuous, in one or both ears, and either low- or high-pitched.
  • The varying sounds have been described as whistling, chirping, clicking, screeching, hissing, static, roaring, buzzing, pulsing, whooshing, or musical.
  • The volume of the sound can fluctuate. It is often most noticeable at night or during periods of quiet. There may be some hearing loss.

Causes

  • Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, certain antibiotics, and diuretics can be "ototoxic."
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Ear infections
  • A foreign object or earwax touching the eardrum
  • Eustachian tube (middle ear) problems
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Stiffening of the middle ear bones
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes

Treatment

There is no cure for most cases of tinnitus. Patients become familiar to it and learn to tune it out. However, practicing the following steps individuals may get relief.

  • Prompt care for an ear infection
  • Discontinuing any ototoxic medications
  • Treating any temporomandibular joint problems, which affect the joint between the jaw bone and the cheek bone

When this does not work, the individual may benefit from treatment for the effects of tinnitus, insomnia, anxiety, hearing difficulties, social isolation, and depression through - Sound therapy - Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) - Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

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