Tinnitus is an annoying condition in which there is noise or ringing in the ears, yet there is no sound present. For some people, tinnitus comes and goes; for others, it is a constant irritant.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
The sounds of tinnitus include ringing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, and clicking. It may range from a dull roar to a high screech, and may be in just one ear – or both. It can be so loud that it interferes with concentration and sleep. It can drown out other external sounds hindering daily life and conversation.
There are two types of tinnitus:
- Subjective Tinnitus: These noises are only perceived; others cannot hear these noises. This type of tinnitus is usually related to hearing loss and is the most common type of tinnitus.
- Objective Tinnitus: Noises are audible to both the patient and to others. The patient’s blood flow and musculature systems are producing these sounds. Objective tinnitus is less common.
What causes tinnitus?
- Age-related hearing loss– which tends to be in both ears and involves the loss of high-frequency sounds. Age-related hearing loss is why tinnitus is so common among those over age 60.
- Noise-induced hearing loss – exposure to loud noise which, over time, damages the auditory system, leading to hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Middle ear blockage due to wax, infection, foreign object or debris
- Inner ear damage
- Sinus pressure and nasal congestion
- Medications – Many prescription medications have tinnitus as a side effect, although it is usually short-lived. When the patient stops taking the medication, tinnitus often subsides. Some drugs may cause permanent tinnitus. A list of common tinnitus causing drugs are listed below:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Cancer medications, such as chemotherapy
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Underlying medical conditions can also lead to tinnitus such as:
- Thyroid abnormalities
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Lyme Disease
- High blood pressure
- Psychiatric Disorders – depression, anxiety, stress
- Hearing Aids: Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss. Hearing aids can have a very positive effect on providing relief from tinnitus. The aids improve reception of external noise and mask the annoying perceived sound.
- Lipoflavanoids: An over the counter B-complex vitamin proven to reduce some forms of tinnitus
- Medication Substitutions: A careful review of your list of current medications may prove beneficial. A simple substitution for another effective class of medicine may resolve the symptoms. Prior to ever discontinuing a medication, one must consult their prescribing physician.
When to see a doctor
If suffering from tinnitus, consult your physician. A detailed history and physical exam may prove beneficial in alleviating your symptoms. A trained health care professional can perform audiological tests to measure the extent of hearing loss and allow for a better understanding of your condition.
Contact our office:
To find out more about our Tinnitus services, visit Dr. Friedman’s office locations at 7600 E. Camelback Road, Suite #7, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 and 903 East Highway 260, Suite #3, Payson, Arizona 85541, or book an appointment by calling 480-664-0125 today.