Three Main Reasons For Ear Ringing or Tinnitus
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is a condition that affects about 50 million people in the United States, according to statistics published by the Florida Hospital. Patients experience buzzing, hissing, whistling, or ringing noises in their ears. These noises may be either intermittent or continuous. Here is some more information about this condition:
Characteristics of Tinnitus
Medical experts divide tinnitus into two categories: subjective and objective. A doctor will classify tinnitus as subjective when only the patient can hear the noises associated with the condition. On the other hand, a doctor examining a patient with objective tinnitus may also hear the said noises, which generally range from soft background noises to extremely loud noises. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology, patients have reported experiencing noises similar to grinding steel, dripping tap water, running vehicle engine, and escaping steam. Tinnitus causes include:
Exposure to Loud Sound
Exposure to loud sounds such as sound produced by loudspeakers at music concerts, explosions, firearms, chain saws, and heavy construction machinery can cause ringing in the ears.
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A report published by the Mayo Clinic states that people who listen to music stored in portable devices such as iPods, MP3 players, and smartphones are likely to develop tinnitus. Prolonged exposure to these noises could lead to permanent loss of hearing. This is because such noises can damage the sound¬ sensitive cells of the cochlea.
Age Related Hearing Loss
The same Mayo Clinic report states that the elderly may experience tinnitus caused by loss of hearing. Doctors use the term presbycusis to refer to this type of hearing loss. In most cases, senior citizens who experience tinnitus are 60 years or older. Figures published by Right Diagnosis show that one in every 25 Americans, which is about 3.90 of the US population, suffer from presbycusis.
Earwax traps and prevents foreign objects such as dirt from entering the ear. In addition, earwax slows the growth of bacteria. However, allowing too much wax to accumulate in the ears is not a good idea because the wax is likely to become hard to remove, and this is likely to increase the likelihood of developing tinnitus. However, this does not mean that you should use cotton swabs to remove earwax. According to guidelines released by the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO HNSF), you should only remove earwax if it is causing problems such as hearing loss. If this is not the case, leave it in the ear canal because it has lubricating, protective, and anti bacterial properties.
In summary, the main causes of tinnitus include earwax blockage, exposure to loud sounds, and age related hearing loss. It is advisable to seek medical attention if you cannot concentrate due to the condition. Your doctor may carry out audiological (hearing), movement, and imaging tests to identify possible underlying causes. Some of the common treatment options for this condition include pharmacotherapy, sound therapy, electrical suppression, massage and stretching exercises, cognitive and behavioral therapy, earwax removal, tinnitus retraining, and the use of masking devices.