What is tinnitus, what are the causes, and what can you do about it.

When the topic of hearing issues comes up, most people think of hearing loss or hearing deterioration which both imply LESS overall audible sound, but there is another extremely common hearing issue that exists. One that actually introduces MORE sounds to you.

That issue is called tinnitus. 

Most everyone has experienced brief episodes of tinnitus. It is the ringing sound that we hear in our ears after loud sounds, such as in say a concert. But for most people the ringing subsides quickly. 

For others tinnitus lasts longer.

If and when tinnitus lasts for six months or longer, it is termed as chronic tinnitus.

Most tinnitus is referred to as “subjective”. By this we mean that only you can hear the noise. In other cases it is “objective”, which means that others could hear the sound as well (as an example think of the pulse of your heartbeat which can be a sound that people with tinnitus start hearing more clearly).

While anyone can have tinnitus, it is more common with individuals 55 years and above.

While tinnitus is most commonly described as a ringing sound (even though no external ringing noise exists), it is not only limited to ringing sounds. There are a multitude of various sounds people with tinnitus can experience. Some of the other variations can include:

  • buzzing,
  • hissing,
  • humming,
  • roaring,
  • clicking,
  • whistling,
  • shrieking,
  • and a variety of other sounds.

In part due to the wide variation of sounds one can experience, tinnitus affects each person differently. 

For some tinnitus is a constant source of agitation and frustration, while for others it’s not much of an issue and can be ignored without much difficulty.

Tinnitus can be constant, intermittent or even pulsing. People can experience tinnitus in either one or both ears.

There is a long list of potential causes when it comes to tinnitus. A partial list includes issues such as age related hearing loss, ear injuries, ear and sinus infections, circulatory issues, stress and several forms of medications (including extremely common medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen). 

Even ear wax buildup can be a culprit of tinnitus. Since there are so many possible causes, the best way to deal with or properly treat tinnitus varies. At True Hearing Health, we recommend that if you’re hearing ringing or other sounds in your ears even for as short a time as a few weeks, you should contact a doctor of audiology as soon as possible and have a proper tinnitus assessment conducted.