What is Tinnitus ? | Symptoms and Sounds

It is unsettling to hear a strange sound and not be able to find a source for it. This discomfort is only going to increase when you realize nobody else can hear this noise. Are you losing your mind? A typical reaction would be to just ignore the sound in the hope that it goes away, but what if it doesn’t? If you have developed a ringing in the ears, it could mean this sound is going to be a permanent fixture in your life from now on.

“Tinnitus is a stranger that one day suddenly invades your life – unwanted and unbidden to be sure – but there nevertheless. “
Neil G Bauman (When Your Ears Ring! -6th Edition)

What is It ?

The word ‘tinnitus’ is a Latin word that means ‘ringing’, which is a medical condition where you hear a sound without there being any external source for it. This sensation is commonly described as a ‘ringing’ noise, but it could also be experienced as hissing, whooshing, clicking, buzzing, or pulsing. It can even sound like music playing in the background (this is sometimes referred to as a musical hallucination). The sounds may be heard in only one ear, which would result in ringing in the right ear or ringing in the left ear only, or it could be heard in both ears.

It is easier to understand this condition when you view it as a spectrum. Some people will only hear sounds at certain times of day, or when they perform specific actions (e.g. turning their head rapidly). Although irritating, this noise may have little impact on their daily lives. Other individuals have such a severe form it makes living so unbearable that they become suicidal and some experience intermittent or constant ear ringing. Most sufferers also experience some degree of hearing loss.

“I took tranquillizers and anti-depressants to control my rampaging nerves and stop me from going insane…I would lie awake struggling to shut out the ringing.”
Rajen Nair  (Guardian Newspaper April 17, 2008)

Why Do My Ears Ring?

What Are The Causes ?

It is also important to understand that these noises in your ears are a symptom and not a disease with a known cure. One of the difficulties of dealing with it is that there are so many possible causes. Sometimes the origin of the problem can be identified and easily treated, but doesn’t happen in a lot of cases. Some of the most common causes would include:

  • Damage to the inner ear
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Changes to the bones in the middle ear
  • Buildup of earwax
  • Side-effect of certain drugs (e.g. antidepressants, aspirin, and quinine)
  • Hearing loss related to aging
  • Meniere’s disease
  • A tumor affecting the cranial nerve (acoustic neuroma)
  • Build-up of cholesterol in blood vessels close to the middle ear

Tinnitus may be an attribute of sensorineural hearing loss or congenital hearing loss. There are also conditions like high blood pressure that can worsen the symptoms.

How is It Diagnosed?

If you hear a noise that nobody else can hear, how can your problem be diagnosed? One of the fears, many of us have when we develop this problem is that medical professionals will dismiss our symptoms as “only in your head”. This condition is not like a broken leg where there is no question that something serious has happened to you.

It is estimated that 20 percent of people in the United States have experienced these sensations (Source: Hearing Health Foundation), and it is a well-established medical condition. Your physician may not be able to offer you immediately a diagnosis as to the cause of the tinnitus, but you can expect to have your symptoms taken seriously. The doctor will usually first try to rule out the most obvious causes such as ear wax build-up or drug side-effects, but it may be necessary for you to be referred to a hearing specialist.

Some of the tests used when diagnosing  include:

  • Physical examination
  • Audiological exam – this involves listening to sounds through headphones
  • CT or MRI scans

In order to get as precise a diagnosis as possible, it is important to describe the sound to your doctor. Be as exact as you can (e.g. if you have a pulsating sound, it may indicate a problem with blood vessels).

“…these symptoms change people. It can diminish a person’s ability to carry out basic life functions, such as sleeping and relaxing. It can influence a person’s abiliIn order to get as precise a diagnosis as possible, it is important to describe the sound to your doctor as clearly as you can (e.g. if you describe a pulsating sound, it may indicate a problem with blood vessels).ty to interact with other people.”
Richard S. Tyler

How is It Treated?

There may be a treatment available to eliminate your symptoms, but it depends on the underlying cause. Sometimes, what is required is the ear-wax removal or changing your drug prescription, and this solves the problem for good. If the condition is due to problems with your blood vessels, this can usually be remedied by drugs or surgery.

  • If the cause is unknown or untreatable, the focus is going to be in managing your symptoms. Some of the most popular options for this would include:
  • If it is related to hearing loss, your symptoms may improve by using a hearing aid.
  • A white noise machine produces external sound that can distract your attention away from the annoying internal sound – this can be especially usefulat nighttime when you are trying to sleep.
  • A masking device looks a bit like a hearing aid, but it works by creating white noise in your middle ear.
  • There are medications such as Alprazolam and amitriptyline that can reduce the severity of tinnitus symptoms.

Living with Tinnitus

“It is not the noise itself but patients’ extremely negative reaction to it that creates daily life impairment…Patients are continuously stressed and fearful of it. It becomes a sign of a danger from which they must escape.”
Rilana F. F. Cima – quoted in ‘Living With a Sound You Can’t Turn Off’ (New York Times, December 3, 2012)

If you become overly anxious about your condition, it is likely to make the situation much worse. This resistance can generate a great deal of stress, and it makes you less able to cope with your symptoms. It means your focus is going to be on escaping something that you can’t escape, and this leads to a feeling of hopeless and despair. Techniques like mindfulness can be useful in helping you come to terms with this affliction. It means you can learn to experience this noise without resistance, so it becomes much easier to manage.

It is important that you can identify factors that worsen and improve your symptoms. You may find the frequency and volume escalate when you are stressed, so you want to be careful about making time for relaxation and avoiding unnecessary challenges. It is also a good idea to avoid caffeine or other stimulants. If you are having trouble sleeping, you can experiment with tools like the white noise machine.

Buzzing in Ears

The buzzing in ears can be soft or high-pitched in its form/intensity. The type or kind of sound also varies a lot; ringing, buzzing, roaring, blowing, hissing, sizzling, whistling or humming. Others hear a beeping, ticking, clicking in the ear, banging, static or crickets chirping. Constant buzzing and hearing intermittent sounds are two symptoms of tinnitus.

A buzzing sound may be heard in one or both the ears. Conditions of tinnitus can either be subjective or objective. An objective form is the one in which the sufferer hears a buzzing sound clearly, and other people that are in proximity to the affected person can also hear the sound. In the subjective form only the affected person can hear such sounds.

Causes of Buzzing in the Ears

Exposure to loud noise or music is one of the primary causes of tinnitus. Even a slight amount of damage that is caused to ears can have long-lasting effects on hearing. Other causes include ear infection, wax in the ear, the presence of foreign objects in ears, nose allergies, etc. Tinnitus can also be the result of aging. The hearing ability is impaired naturally due to aging. Buzzing sounds may also result from side-effects of certain medicines. Tinnitus is also one of the side-effects of genetic hearing loss. The buzzing sound can also be the result of other complications taking place in the body.

Tinnitus treatment is never going to be a precise formula because in the majority of cases there are no apparent physical causes of tinnitus to treat. That said it is important that as with all health issues you visit and take advice from your doctor at the first sign of any abnormality. In most cases however where a patient describes ringing in the ears doctors are quick to diagnose tinnitus and even quicker to say that there are no known tinnitus cures to help. I would encourage you to take a serious look at Thomas Coleman’s Tinnitus Miracle holistic approach to relieving your symptoms. I know the program works because I have used it to completely eliminate the sounds I was hearing. Click on his picture to the right for complete information and it comes with a 60 day money back guarantee, that’s plenty of time to get results.

Tinnitus Treatment

Some experience ringing sounds once in a while and it subsides on its own without any treatment. However, if the sounds recur again and again or refuses to go away, then you must visit an ENT specialist for proper treatment. They conduct a series of tests that include a hearing test, ear x-rays and imaging test for diagnosing the problem.

When tinnitus is triggered by an underlying cause; doctors treat that particular problem to get rid of the tinnitus. For instance, if there is earwax build up, then it is removed with the help of ear drops or ear irrigation. Antibiotics are prescribed for the treatment of a bacterial ear infection. If any of the medicines that you are taking is triggering it, then your doctor may change the medicines or reduce its dosage.

Many times, the exact cause cannot be identified at all. Doctors use various devices and therapies which can help the patient to cope up with the problem in a much better manner. As we have already mentioned that tinnitus becomes bothersome in a quiet environment. Therefore, the bothersome ringing sound of tinnitus can be suppressed with a white noise which is a constant, gentle sound and is more pleasant to the ears. Masking devices are being used for this purpose which patients have to wear in the ear like a hearing aid. It will continuously produce a white noise that has a soothing effect on the ears. Those who cannot fall asleep because of tinnitus can use special white noise machines with pillow speakers. Such machines produce sounds that are quite similar to the sounds of natural environment such as falling rain or ocean waves. This simulated sound overpowers the tinnitus and helps the patient to fall asleep

Those who are using devices for noise suppression has to undergo tinnitus retraining. During this training, the counselor helps the patient to understand tinnitus and its effect on the daily life. They also provide instructions on retraining the brain so that it gets accustomed to the constant sound. For this; the level of volume of the white noise device has to be adjusted according to the level of the tinnitus sound in such a way that the patient does not have to focus on the condition. Such patients often get stressed out because of the problem. Therefore, stress management is an integral part of treatment. Those people who suffer from anxiety and depression due to tinnitus have to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy to alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Sometimes medicines like antidepressants are prescribed to keep the severity of anxiety symptoms in check.

Much of the time, tinnitus is not curable with standard medical practices. In such cases, treatment mainly involves covering up the annoying sound by various artificial sounds and it has to be continued throughout a patient’s life. Such patients should always try to avoid exposure to loud sounds as it aggravates their problem further.


Tips for Relief | Stop Ears From Ringing

Although some tinnitus remedies can aggravate the condition, these suggestions can help to control those internal noises. Here are some tips that can help:

When you are at home and you are experiencing some of these symptoms, the best way for you to manage and control these noises is to use an earplug. Refrain from exposing yourself to loud noises such as traffic and people who are talking, the sound of electrical appliances or heavy machinery etc. as this will also cause an amplification of the ringing sounds and will really get you annoyed and irritated. Ear plugs can also help reduce the level of noise that are coming from these sources.

Watch what you eat. Some of the common causes of tinnitus include excessive intake of sugar, nicotine or caffeine. Refrain from putting additional spices to your food, it also helps if you reduce your coffee, tea and soda intake. These foods can worsen the condition as well. It is also recommended that you eat a lot of fresh fruits vegetables to enhance the immune system of your body. Eating of dried fruits and veggies can improve your blood’s circulation and lessen the effects of tinnitus.

Do a lot of exercise and learn to practice yoga. Exercising is also essential to keep yourself physically fit. Physical exercises help prevent blood pressure and other diseases that can attack your immune system. Yoga exercises can also help reduce the effects of tinnitus as it helps you focus on one thing instead of being distracted by those noises. Yoga also helps you to meditate and can boost your physical and mental health as well. You can also use the earplugs while doing these exercises.

If you are going to sleep, you can turn off your alarm clock or your radio to help you sleep and relax more. Or in some cases, you can re arrange the signal of your radio as this will help balance the internal sounds and the external sounds.

Tips and Advice For Dealing With Ringing in the Ears

A lot of people have some ringing in ears every now and again. Maybe it’s after standing too close to speakers at a loud concert, or a sporting event. While a short-term effect can be annoying, experiencing this more frequently can be a serious medical issue known as tinnitus. There are many causes of it, including loud noise, medicine and stress.
Individuals who experience exposure to continuous loud noises could experience symptoms for about two or three days after a specific event. It is very common with soldiers who have been near explosions and with others who go to motor racing events or loud concerts. If your eardrum has not been damaged, chances are that there is no permanent damage. And you may just experience ringing in the right ear or ringing in left ear this is not uncommon.

Carefully take note of everything you eat or drink; it is possible that something in your diet could exacerbate your condition. For example, people afflicted with tinnitus say that caffeine and red wine make the ringing sounds in the ears much louder. Start keeping track of what you eat, and then try cutting back or eliminating foods and drinks that you suspect are aggravating your condition. This way, you can determine if your diet is worsening your current symptoms.
In some cases, people have found ginko biloba to be extremely efficient. There haven’t been any studies proving it’s effectiveness, but as long as you’re taking it under the supervision of a medical professional you shouldn’t have any ill effects from taking it, so give it a try!

Controlling your level of stress can be very helpful in reducing the symptoms. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, agree to do things you can’t finish, spend more than you have or allow the emotion of trivial things to affect you. Remaining calm and in control can help some individuals regulate their blood pressure, which helps with the ringing sound in their ears.

People say that  sufferers are very tired people. If you’re already exhausted, you’ll be able to fall asleep more easily than if you’re alert. Getting plenty of exercise can both distract you and reduce your symptoms, making it less difficult to make it through the day.
One way to cope with tinnitus is to build a support network. Communicate with your family and close friends about your battle with tinnitus, and explain to them the ways the symptoms can affect you. For example, compare your condition to having to hear a horrible sound, like a phone ringing. This will help them to realize how they can support you as you deal with tinnitus, and you will feel more connected.

Use the right state of mind when battling with this disorder and its symptoms. Believing that nothing will work or that you will always have this condition is depressing and may worsen the problem. Dwelling on your unpleasant situation will only make you miserable. Maintain a positive attitude, and this condition has less chance to consume you.

Go back in time in your mind to when you first started to notice the sounds. Was there a prescription you also started about the same time? The symptoms can be caused by many drugs; the symptoms may stop when you cease taking the medicine. Talk to your doctor about stopping any medications and see if this provides relief.

I found an interesting article written by Dr. Jan Strydom, for temporary relief,  I posted it along with a video.  Give it a try it worked for me!

A sonic pillow was created to help reduce the symptoms . This pillow was developed to treat soldiers who developed tinnitus as a result of serving in a war zone.

There are many causes for ringing in the ears, and figuring out what is causing yours can be very challenging. Consulting specialists and trying various treatments, until you find what works best, will be part of your journey. By relieving symptoms, you can focus on the cause.

Get in touch with a doctor. The initial signs of tinnitus can be worrisome, so get in to see a doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to offer you ideas that can help you to deal with this. He can do certain tests to see what may be the cause.

There are various causes, including medication and emotional upsets, as this article has shown. Many factors can contribute to that awful noise you’re hearing constantly. Thankfully, there are effective treatments. Sometimes, it can even be cured. Always keep in mind that you should call the doctor if you are experiencing constant ringing or clicking in the ears.