If you’re bothered by a near-constant, unexplained ringing in your ears, it could be tinnitus. If this sounds like you, we encourage you to learn more about the symptoms of tinnitus, as well as the options you have to control this condition.
How to Know if You Have It
Any noise present in the ear that is not caused by an external source can be categorized as tinnitus. It most often manifests with a ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing, all of which can vary in volume and pitch. The symptoms can be either continuous or intermittent, and often make it difficult to concentrate. Talk with our doctor if you experience sounds that interfere with your daily activities or your ability to hear, and get immediate medical attention if the tinnitus begins suddenly or comes with hearing loss or dizziness.
What Causes It?
There are two types of this condition, each of which has several different causes. The most common type, subjective tinnitus, can only be heard by the person experiencing the symptoms. This type is usually caused by outer, middle or inner ear problems, or by problems with the auditory nerves or pathways. Objective tinnitus can be heard during a doctor’s exam, and is usually caused by muscle contractions or a blood vessel or bone condition.
While the exact cause of tinnitus is often unknown, it’s often triggered by age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, earwax blockage or changes of the bones in the middle ear. It can also be caused by Meniere’s disease, TMJ disorder, head or neck injuries, blood vessel disorders, a non-cancerous tumor or taking certain medications.
The type of treatment for your tinnitus will depend on the underlying cause. For example, earwax removal should relieve your symptoms if they’re caused by a blockage. If your condition is caused by a medication you’re taking, our doctor may prescribe an alternate medication. Another option is to block the sound with a white noise machine or a hearing aid. Some medications, such as certain antidepressants, can also reduce the symptoms associated with the condition.
While not all cases of tinnitus can be prevented, it is often possible to reduce your risk for this condition. Avoid exposure to loud noise, which can damage the ears, by using hearing protection if you work in a noisy environment and turning down the volume on your music. Keeping your blood vessels healthy by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce the risk for tinnitus caused by blood vessel disease.
Located in McAllen, Ayala ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery offers tinnitus testing. During a consultation at our office, you can learn more about what could be causing your condition. Contact us today to book your appointment.