A sensation of ringing, hissing, whistling, humming, roaring or buzzing in the inner ear, when there is no sound present in the external environment such a condition is known as tinnitus. The sound perceived by a person suffering from tinnitus may vary from low to high pitch or remain constant in some cases, it entirely depends on the severity of the condition.
Tinnitus can be experienced by anyone at any age but is majorly found in old aged people. Some people experience ringing sensations in both ears and some experience it in either of the ones. Severe conditions of the reaction make it difficult for a person to live a daily life as it creates difficulty in sleeping in a silent environment as the velocity of the sound just gets doubled and working seems quite a tremendous task.
If the case is persistent, loss of hearing ability makes the condition worse
Many believe this is an ear disorder, but that’s a myth. It is not a disease itself, it’s a symptom of various underlying causes that are directly associated with the inner ear or auditory system. An inflammation in the vestibular nerve or auditory nerve that sends sensory signals to the brain from the inner ear to regulate the balance of the body results in vertigo spells and tinnitus.
Several causes may lead to such a condition. Some vertigo causes like Meniere disease or inflammation or blockage into the vestibular system may often show tinnitus symptoms. Apart from the age factor, exposure to loud noise for prolonged hours causes damage to tiny hair cells which further results in causing ringing sensations known as tinnitus. People who work in fields that have high exposure to loud noises are more at risk of the condition.
Excess ear wax build-up is another such cause that results in causing tinnitus. Cleaning the wax sometimes results in pushing it further which results in blockage thereby causing it. Side effects of certain medications and excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages make the condition worse.
It is advised to seek medical help immediately as soon as you start observing any symptoms to get yourself diagnosed and ease the condition. The condition can be mild, chronic, temporary or persistent, depending on the intensity of the underlying condition. Getting treatment on time helps in easing your condition by subsiding tinnitus symptoms gradually.
Your doctor will advise you about the best tinnitus treatment for the perception of sound. He may even ask you to undergo various vertigo tests to diagnose whether you are experiencing the condition due to Meniere’s disease. If you are diagnosed with the same he may prescribe you with a meclizine tablet, one of the best vertigo medicines to subside the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
An expert neurologist will suggest you with the right treatment and therapies to reduce the intensity of noise in the inner ear depending on the underlying causes of the condition. The condition treatments may not stop the perceived sound but reduce its intensity thereby allowing a person to lead a normal life.
Types of Tinnitus
Subjective: A sensation of ringing, hissing or whistling in the inner ear, from low to the high pitch can only be heard by the patient and not the other person it is known as Subjective tinnitus.
Objective: When a person perceives a sensation of sounds like ringing, hissing or whistling and it can be heard by both the patient and the doctor as well, it is known as objective tinnitus.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A diagnosis of the condition is a must if you are experiencing any tinnitus symptoms. To prevent the condition from getting chronic and persistent, get the right treatment on time. To examine the condition accurately your doctor will ask you to undergo various vertigo tests and seek your complete medical history.
If a certain drug is triggering your tinnitus symptoms he may ask you to give up on that and replace it with another immediately. Your doctor may prescribe you certain vertigo medicine, tinnitus retraining therapies and advise you to alter your certain lifestyle habits for a speedy recovery and managing the symptoms well.
Suppressing the intensity of noise
In some cases, tinnitus is a symptom of a permanent loss of hearing ability. Your doctor may advise you to wear devices that help suppress the noise. Here is a list of some common devices that are suggested by doctors as a tinnitus treatment.
White noise machines
Tinnitus conditions make it quite difficult for a patient to sleep in a quiet environment, thereby triggering the symptoms further and leading to anxiety and stress as an add on. White noise machines are suggested by doctors as an effective treatment, as it produces environmental sounds like rain or sound of ripples of the ocean, which helps the patient to sleep at night peacefully.
Hearing aids are generally suggested as a treatment if you are diagnosed with both hearing aids and tinnitus as well. It helps in lowering the distracting sounds heard in the inner ear thereby improving the hearing efficiency.
Masking devices are the same as hearing aids and are worn in the affected ear. Masking devices produce low-level white noise or environmental noise continuously that is quite helpful in suppressing ringing sensations.
Tinnitus Therapies: Various therapies are effective in easing the condition gradually. Here are some:
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy helps the auditory system to accept the annoying sounds in the inner ear. TRT works towards making the sounds less noticeable and allows the patient to perceive the sound as normal rather than disruptive.
A device is inserted in the ear in tinnitus retraining therapy. The inserted device helps in producing a sound that matches the pitch of the ringing sensation. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is one of the most effective treatments for tinnitus. It is advised to undergo TRT for a year or two for complete recovery.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another therapy that helps in treating ringing sensations by making the sound in the inner ear less noticeable. It helps in changing patients’ way of perceiving sounds.
Certain medications help in suppressing sounds and reducing the severity of tinnitus symptoms. Meclizine tablets are quite effective in treating and suppressing vestibular disorders like Meniere’s disease, which is one such possible cause of the condition. These antidepressants do come with certain side effects like dry mouth, dizziness and so on.
It is advised to consult a neurologist for the right medicine depending on your condition instead of self-medicating. Apart from it, your doctor may even prescribe you with Alprazolam (Xanax), amitriptyline and nortriptyline to reduce tinnitus symptoms.
Altering lifestyle habits
Giving up on certain lifestyle habits helps in easing the symptoms. Give up on the consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeinated beverages to prevent symptoms from getting worse. Avoid getting exposed to loud noises or visiting places with loud music such as rock concerts, pubs, etc. Right tinnitus treatment at the right time improves the quality of life, allowing a person to walk on the normal path and lead a happy healthy life.
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