Individuals who report a ringing sound in one or both of their ears which is not caused by external stimuli could be suffering from Tinnitus. This is also often a symptom of another condition like Presbycusis (hearing loss caused by old age) or trauma to the ear.
Tinnitus affects around 20% of the adult population and is quite common, often ranging from low roaring sounds to high pitched squealing. Though it can be annoying, it is usually not a serious problem and can be effectively treated.
Usually a sign of hearing loss, this can range from the normal process of aging or trauma to any part of the ear, including cochlea. It is generally understood that when the cochlea stops sending signals to the brain, the brain might generate its own noise to compensate for the absence of normal sound signals.
Most conditions with Tinnitus occurs due to:
- Damage to the hearing nerves in the inner ear, which are the nerves responsible for acute hearing
- Exposure to excessively loud noises from clubs and concerts or from portable music devices, which can cause temporary or permanent tinnitus. This is considered the leading cause of tinnitus in young people and can often lead to hearing damage
- Other medical conditions, including meniere’s disease, circulatory disorders, cancer, diabetes, overactive thyroid, head and neck injury, and allergy
- Underlying conditions, including middle ear infections, perforation of the eardrum, or middle ear fluid build-up
Individuals suffering from Tinnitus often report:
- Hearing loss
- Ringing, roaring or buzzing sounds in one or both ears
Gleneagles Hospitals offers various different treatment options for Tinnitus. Our ENT will first assess your condition in order to determine the root cause before proposing the most suitable course of treatment. These may include:
- Medications to improve blood circulation to the cochlea, and to treat associated depression. These can include antibiotics, antidepressants, aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Reassurance, which might be enough and no treatment is needed
- Relaxation exercises to manage muscles and circulation all over the body
- Use of hearing aids that can help reduce tinnitus while the hearing aid is being worn
- Using other competing sounds such as a ticking clock or running water in order to mask the ringing noise