Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)
Head noises (tinnitus) involves the perception of sounds associated with the hearing system. Tinnitus affects 36 million people and it could stem from a number of conditions within the hearing system. Most subjective tinnitus associated with the hearing system originates in the inner ear. Damage and loss of the tiny sensory hair cells in the inner ear may be commonly associated with the presence of tinnitus. Middle ear problems can also cause tinnitus.
Pulsatile tinnitus is tinnitus that sounds like a heartbeat or pulse. Sometimes this can be a signal of a vascular tumor in the ear.
Conditions that affect the hearing nerve can also cause tinnitus, the most common being benign tumors, which originate from one of the balance nerves in close proximity to the hearing nerve.
Non-auditory conditions that can cause tinnitus include hypertension or high blood pressure, thyroid problems and chronic brain syndromes. Stress and fatigue may cause tinnitus, or can contribute to an exacerbation of an existing case. Tinnitus can result from lifestyle conditions such as poor diet and lack of exercise, and certain common medications including non-prescription medications such as aspirin.
If you experience tinnitus:
- Avoid exposure to loud sounds and noises.
- Get your blood pressure checked.
- If it is high, get your doctor’s help to control it.
- Decrease your intake of salt.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola and tobacco.
- Exercise daily to improve your circulation.
- Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
- Train yourself to ignore the head noise.
What will happen at my visit to Mid-Kansas Ear, Nose & Throat?
In most cases, there is no specific treatment for ear and head noise. Through extensive testing, Mid-Kansas Ear, Noise & Throat physicians may be able to identify a specific cause, but tinnitus is one of the more difficult conditions to identify the source. If a cause is identified, the physicians at MKENT could offer specific treatment such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, cognitive therapy, drug therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy or TMJ treatment.
Hearing aids may reduce head noise while you are wearing them and sometimes cause the noise to go away temporarily. Tinnitus maskers can be combined within hearing aids to emit a competitive but pleasant sound to distract from head noise. In rare instances, people find that a tinnitus masker suppresses the head noise for several hours after it is used.