Tinnitus is a medical term referring to the perception of sound that occurs within the human ear or ears while the sound is actually nonexistent. The sound that is perceived may be in the form of ringing, buzzing or other types of periodic noises. In fact, ringing perception can occur in any of the four sections of our hearing system, which includes the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear and the brain. Ear ringing itself is not actually a pathogenic disease, it is rather a symptom that is caused by numerous other factors. Some causes that might make tinnitus occur include constant exposure to loud noises, ear infections, earwax buildup, nasal allergies, tumors, aneurysms or foreign objects residing in the ear canal. A person who takes certain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, depressants or even aspirin may also experience tinnitus. Typically, tinnitus sounds can appear similar to the sound of crickets, hissing, buzzing, roaring, whistling or high-pitched ringing.
There are two types of tinnitus that may occur:
– Objective tinnitus – in this relatively rare condition, your doctor may sometimes be able to hear the same sound within your ear when she or he carefully listens for it.
Objective tinnitus is usually treated with botulinum toxin, Teflon implants to shield the cochlea, neurostimulators, gamma knife radiosurgery, or merely clearing the ear canal to get rid of earwax buildup.
– Subjective tinnitus – this is the most common type: you can hear a sound but others cannot.
Compared to objective tinnitus, subjective tinnitus has many more means of treatment depending on the cause. Remedies for subjective tinnitus may include consumption of particular medicines and nutrients (e.g. melatonin, sertraline, vitamins combinations, Sonus Complete lidocaine, zinc supplement, etc.), surgery, electrical stimulation (e.g. vagus nerve stimulation, implanted electrodes, etc.), external masking sounds, or psychological cognitive behavioral therapy.
When the ear problem becomes really annoying, some immediate remedies that can be used for relieving the condition are:
– Masking the annoying ringing sound. It is common for people with tinnitus to wear small hearing aid-like device that helps to mask or block the sound with “white noise”. Other helpful remedies also include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
– If the ringing in the ear is worse when you are attempting to sleep, mask the sound with the noise of a machine, radio, fan or other device.
– For people who notice that the ear ringing is worse when they are under stress, the best remedy is relaxation.