What Can I Do About Tinnitus?

While tinnitus isn’t life-threatening, it can have a major impact on your daily life. People with tinnitus perceive an unpleasant ringing sound or other noise in their ears. For some, the sound is continuous, while others experience tinnitus that comes and goes. 

If you hear an unusual noise in one or both ears, seek proper diagnosis and treatment to manage your condition. At Southern ENT, our team of experts can help. To start, here is some information to help you understand that annoying sound in your ears.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound with no external source. The sound varies from person to person. While a ringing sound is most common, some people with tinnitus describe various sounds, including whistling, hissing, pulsing, roaring, whooshing, buzzing, and chirping. You may hear the sound in one or both ears. 

We caution you to avoid self-diagnosing. Tinnitus is often associated with an underlying condition, although in some cases, no exact cause can be found. In the event an underlying condition is the cause, we may be able to help reduce tinnitus by treating the underlying problem.

Some medications can cause tinnitus that goes away when you discontinue the medicine.

Types of tinnitus

Most people experience temporary tinnitus at some point in their lives after exposure to very loud noises. For example, you may experience tinnitus after attending a loud concert. This type of tinnitus is short-lived and goes away within hours to days. 

Tinnitus that sticks around is referred to as chronic tinnitus. There are two types of chronic tinnitus:

Subjective tinnitus

Head or ear noises that only you can hear are referred to as subjective. Most cases of chronic tinnitus are subjective — over 99%.

Objective tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is very rare, accounting for fewer than 1% of cases. People with objective tinnitus hear head or ear sounds that other people can detect coming from the person with tinnitus. For the most part, this type of tinnitus occurs when internal functions of your blood vessels or muscles create the sound that you hear.

Circulatory disorders linked to tinnitus

There is a link between tinnitus and blood vessel disorders like atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Here’s what you should know.

High blood pressure 

Hypertension refers to excess force against your artery walls. Close to 70 million Americans are living with high blood pressure, and some are unaware of it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure not only damages your circulatory system, but it’s also linked to tinnitus. When your blood pressure becomes too high, you may perceive a pulsating sound in one or both ears.

Atherosclerosis

A buildup of cholesterol and other deposits in major blood vessels can cause all sorts of problems. It raises the risk of heart attack and stroke and may trigger tinnitus. This is thought to occur when the vein in your neck becomes narrow, causing turbulent blood flow. 

Because the blood flow becomes more forceful, you may perceive a sound in one or both ears as your heart pumps to circulate blood throughout your body.

Tinnitus treatment

There is currently no cure for chronic tinnitus that has no obvious cause. Certain medications may cause tinnitus, in which case discontinuing the medication solves the problem. 

In some cases, subjective tinnitus is the result of inner ear disorders. In those instances, treating the underlying condition can help. Tinnitus may also be associated with age-related hearing loss or conditions that lead to progressive hearing loss.

Regardless of the type of tinnitus you have, successful treatment can help manage the condition and minimize the effects it has on your quality of life. Most patients get relief from treatments like amplification and masking. 

Our highly skilled professionals at Southern ENT can perform a thorough evaluation and diagnosis, and work with you to determine the best treatment approach. 

Visit one of our seven convenient southern Louisiana clinics if you're experiencing tinnitus. Left untreated, tinnitus can interfere with work, school, and your daily activities. Reach us by phone to schedule an appointment or book online today. 

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