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11.06.2015

Common causes for ringing in the ears, tinnitus ear disease - Within Minutes

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A ringing sound in the ear is a common symptom of tinnitusQ: I have a constant ringing sound in my right ear, which can be annoying, especially when I am in a very quiet room. It can also be related to inner ear disorders resulting from infection, trauma, loud noise exposure, medications and tumours in the pathway of the auditory nervous system. More commonly, acute tinnitus is associated with sudden hearing loss that develops over 72 hours. For the majority of these patients with pulsatile tinnitus, the physicians are not able to hear the sound through auscultation of the head and neck with the stethoscope and generally, no cause is found on X-ray imaging. Another group of patients with audible pulsatile tinnitus (sounds which the physician can hear following auscultation) would require radiographic imaging to exclude small dural arterio-venous fistulas (abnormal connection or passageway between two vessels that normally do not connect) or vascular brain tumours. For many others for whom the cause of the tinnitus is not found on physical examination and even after various investigations, such as magnetic resonance imaging scans to exclude important treatable inner ear conditions, basic counselling, tips on how to avoid silence and the use of enriched environmental sounds can help. Advanced Care PlanningTake this opportunity to ask our experts on what advance care planning is all about, as well as the other directives.
Tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tis), or ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. Although tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, it does not cause the loss, nor does a hearing loss cause tinnitus. Some instances of tinnitus are caused by infections or blockages in the ear, and the tinnitus can disappear once the underlying cause is treated.
Certain drugs -- most notably aspirin, several types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, sedatives, and antidepressants, as well as quinine medications; tinnitus is cited as a potential side effect for about 200 prescription and nonprescription drugs. Tinnitus can worsen in some people if they drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drink caffeinated beverages, or eat certain foods. If you subscribe to any of our print newsletters and have never activated your online account, please activate your account below for online access.
Constant stress — whether from a traffic-choked daily commute, unhappy marriage, or heavy workload — can have real physical effects on the body. For years, experts recommended low-fat diets as a way to lower cholesterol and heart disease risk. If you find daily tasks difficult to do because you suffer from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands, the right exercises can help get you back in motion. When you are caring for someone who is ill, elderly, or disabled, it's important to consider how you'll handle those times when you can't be with your loved one in person. If a growth or mole looks like a melanoma, the doctor will take a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Some people don't have a health care power of attorney or living will because they don't realize how important these documents are.
When you think of risk factors for hearing loss, over-the-counter pain relievers probably aren't among them. Erectile dysfunction (ED) becomes more common in men in middle age, but the range of treatments means most men can find something that works for them. A study found that one in 10 people who take protective aspirin may not really qualify, because the risk of heart attacks and strokes wasn't great enough to justify the risk of unwanted bleeding associated with aspirin. When shopping for shoes, you want to have more than fashion in mind — you'll also want to consider function and keeping your feet in good shape. Constant noise in the head -- such as ringing in the ears -- rarely indicates a serious health problem, but it sure can be annoying. Tinnitus (pronounced tih-NITE-us or TIN-ih-tus) is sound in the head with no external source.
Almost everyone has had tinnitus for a short time after being exposed to extremely loud noise.
While there's no cure for chronic tinnitus, it often becomes less noticeable and more manageable over time.
Sound waves travel through the ear canal to the middle and inner ear, where hair cells in part of the cochlea help transform sound waves into electrical signals that then travel to the brain's auditory cortex via the auditory nerve. Most people who seek medical help for tinnitus experience it as subjective, constant sound, and most have some degree of hearing loss. Tinnitus can arise anywhere along the auditory pathway, from the outer ear through the middle and inner ear to the brain's auditory cortex, where it's thought to be encoded (in a sense, imprinted). Most tinnitus is "sensorineural," meaning that it's due to hearing loss at the cochlea or cochlear nerve level. Tinnitus that's continuous, steady, and high-pitched (the most common type) generally indicates a problem in the auditory system and requires hearing tests conducted by an audiologist. Your general health can affect the severity and impact of tinnitus, so this is also a good time to take stock of your diet, physical activity, sleep, and stress level — and take steps to improve them. If you're often exposed to loud noises at work or at home, it's important to reduce the risk of hearing loss (or further hearing loss) by using protectors such as earplugs or earmuff-like or custom-fitted devices. In addition to treating associated problems (such as depression or insomnia), there are several strategies that can help make tinnitus less bothersome. There is no FDA-approved drug treatment for tinnitus, and controlled trials have not found any drug, supplement, or herb to be any more effective than a placebo. The most effective approaches are behavioral strategies and sound-generating devices, often used in combination. Not all insurance companies cover tinnitus treatments in the same way, so be sure to check your coverage. If you are experiencing a constant ringing in the ears, you may be one of the 50 million Americans who have tinnitus. It often sounds like a high-pitched, constant ringing in the ears, either softly or loudly. Approximately 90% of individuals with tinnitus have some level of hearing loss, which may have variable causes. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to loud sounds is not the only way that someone can hear ringing in the ears.
Twenty-six million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 are reported to have high-frequency hearing loss, and many of those affected by ringing in the ears have occupations that require consistent exposure to loud sounds.


Men are more likely to suffer from ringing in the ears than women, and the national average indicates that adults 55 years of age and older are the majority of those who suffer from tinnitus. In conjunction with the above mentioned tinnitus remedies, there are several forms of tinnitus treatments available to reduce ringing in the ears. For tinnitus suffers with hearing loss, hearing aids offer the possibility of returning ambient sounds that naturally cover the ringing of tinnitus.
According to the American Tinnitus Association, cochlear implants are only recommended for patients with total or near deafness. Several tinnitus treatments utilize sound machines to assist in masking tinnitus through the use of white noise or running water.
Of the 50 million Americans affected by tinnitus, 15 million annually seek medical attention from an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (Otolaryngologist). Some patients can be affected to the point of developing sleep disturbances coupled with anxiety and depression. The remainder of patients will still hear the noise but they get used to this, while a minority (5 per cent) will need medical help to cope.
The patient with audible pulsatile tinnitus needs early management and treatment before further complications set in.
Removing the ear wax will help those who have tinnitus arising from blocked external ear canals. It is a directed counselling therapy and utilises enriched environmental sounds or noise generators to train the brain to adapt to the tinnitus.
In fact, some people with tinnitus experience no difficulty hearing, and in a few cases they even become so acutely sensitive to sound (hyperacusis) that they must take steps to muffle or mask external noises. For reasons not yet entirely clear to researchers, stress and fatigue seem to worsen tinnitus. But ringing in the ears that does not get better or go away is an ear condition called tinnitus. For many, it's a ringing sound, while for others, it's whistling, buzzing, chirping, hissing, humming, roaring, or even shrieking. You can help ease the symptoms by educating yourself about the condition — for example, understanding that it's not dangerous.
When hair cells are damaged — by loud noise or ototoxic drugs, for example — the circuits in the brain don't receive the signals they're expecting.
Things that cause hearing loss (and tinnitus) include loud noise, medications that damage the nerves in the ear (ototoxic drugs), impacted earwax, middle ear problems (such as infections and vascular tumors), and aging.
One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to the hair cells in the cochlea (see "Auditory pathways and tinnitus"). She or he will take a medical history, give you a physical examination, and do a series of tests to try to find the source of the problem. Pulsatile tinnitus calls for a thorough evaluation by an otolaryngologist (commonly called an ear, nose, and throat specialist, or ENT) or neurotologist, especially if the noise is frequent or constant.
You may also be able to reduce the impact of tinnitus by treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, and pain with medications or psychotherapy. No single approach works for everyone, and you may need to try various combinations of techniques before you find what works for you. CBT uses techniques such as cognitive restructuring and relaxation to change the way patients think about and respond to tinnitus. Masking devices, worn like hearing aids, generate low-level white noise (a high-pitched hiss, for example) that can reduce the perception of tinnitus and sometimes also produce residual inhibition — less noticeable tinnitus for a short time after the masker is turned off.
Other treatments that have been studied for tinnitus include transcutaneous electrical stimulation of parts of the inner ear by way of electrodes placed on the skin or acupuncture needles, and stimulation of the brain using a powerful magnetic field (a technique called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS).
Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing in the ears and is defined as hearing noises in your ears that have no outside source.
Ringing in one ear is common, but tinnitus can also be experienced in both ears or inside the head. However, the most common cause of tinnitus is prolonged exposure to loud sounds such as music, gunshots or even landscaping equipment like chainsaws. Such occupations often include musicians, construction and landscape workers, pilots or members of the military.
Derived from natural botanical ingredients such as Zinc and Ginkgo biloba, these tinnitus supplements offer an effective and less invasive tinnitus treatment.
The implant sends sound signals to the brain, and one study concluded that half of cochlear implant patients who had reported tinnitus before the implant experienced proven tinnitus relief. Unlike other tinnitus treatments that focus on the tinnitus itself, CBT works with patients to change their perception of the ringing in their ears. Sound machines or masking devices can be found in several different forms, including tabletop apparatuses or wearable headbands. This treatment, in essence, is meant to retrain the brain to disregard ringing in the ears that is simulated by nerve signals. If ringing in the ears persists, worsens, it is recommended to seek medical treatment and diagnosis from a physician, specifically an ENT. This has been reported to be present in 17 per cent of the general population and increases to 30 per cent in those more than 65 years old. We generally do not hear these sound energies as our external sound environment will invariably mask them.
Most patients in the acute stage of tinnitus will complain of annoyance, impact on their lifestyle and difficulty coping in quiet environments, especially at night, when the tinnitus sound is magnified due to the absence of ambient noise. In this group of patients, they hear simple, pure tone sounds such as buzzing, cricket noises or high-pitched sounds or a combination of these.
When this is due to sudden hearing loss with no known cause, a trial of steroids, antiviral medications or antioxidant treatments has been reported to improve the hearing and, subsequently, the tinnitus. In severe cases, however, tinnitus can cause people to have difficulty concentrating and sleeping. In such a case, other therapies -- both conventional and alternative -- may bring significant relief by either decreasing or covering up the unwanted sound.


The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear.
Some medications (especially aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs taken in high doses) can cause tinnitus that goes away when the drug is discontinued.
For example, if you have a heart murmur, you may hear a whooshing sound with every heartbeat; your clinician can also hear that sound through a stethoscope.
In about 10% of cases, the condition interferes with everyday life so much that medical help and psychotherapy are needed.
This stimulates abnormal activity in the neurons, which results in the illusion of sound, or tinnitus.
Tinnitus can also be a symptom of Mnire's disease, a disorder of the balance mechanism in the inner ear. She or he will also ask you to describe the noise you're hearing (including its pitch and sound quality, and whether it's constant or periodic, steady or pulsatile) and the times and places in which you hear it. The aim is to habituate the auditory system to the tinnitus signals, making them less noticeable or less bothersome. Today, the term TRT is being used to describe modified versions of this therapy, and the variations make accurate assessment of its effectiveness difficult.
A specialized device isn't always necessary for masking; often, playing music or having a radio, fan, or white-noise machine on in the background is enough. Most tinnitus suffers are aware of the ringing in their ears but tend to find it worse when trying to fall asleep, or when they are sitting in a quiet room or background noise is fairly low. These high-volume sounds often cause permanent damage to the cochlea hair cells, which are sound sensitive cells found in the spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear.
In fact, the most frequent disability of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is tinnitus and hearing loss, with 60% of veterans returning home with these conditions.
Department of Health and Human Services suggest that hearing problems among 45- to 64-year-olds increased 26% over a 30-year period from 1971 to 1990, indicating the average age of a tinnitus suffer is on the rise.
While there is no cure for tinnitus, a doctor should be able to help ascertain the causes behind ringing in the ears and assist you in determining the proper method of remedies and tinnitus treatments to take. These patients have to be distinguished from a more common group of patients who suffer from schizophrenia. Carpenters, pilots, rock musicians, street-repair workers, and landscapers are among those whose jobs put them at risk, as are people who work with chain saws, guns, or other loud devices or who repeatedly listen to loud music. The sound may keep time with your heartbeat, it may keep pace with your breathing, it may be constant, or it may come and go.
Many people can hear their heartbeat — a phenomenon called pulsatile tinnitus — especially as they grow older, because blood flow tends to be more turbulent in arteries whose walls have stiffened with age.
If the auditory pathways or circuits in the brain don't receive the signals they're expecting from the cochlea, the brain in effect "turns up the gain" on those pathways in an effort to detect the signal — in much the same way that you turn up the volume on a car radio when you're trying to find a station's signal.
The main components of TRT are individual counseling (to explain the auditory system, how tinnitus develops, and how TRT can help) and sound therapy. Although there's not enough evidence from randomized trials to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of masking, hearing experts often recommend a trial of simple masking strategies (such as setting a radio at low volume between stations) before they turn to more expensive options. Electrodes attached to the skin feed information about physiological processes such as pulse, skin temperature, and muscle tension into a computer, which displays the output on a monitor. In two small trials, rTMS compared with a sham procedure helped improve the perception of tinnitus in a few patients. Another group of patients hear repeated tapping noises because of middle ear myoclonus, a condition that results from twitching of the middle ear muscles.
The most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss that occurs with aging, but it can also be caused by living or working around loud noises. As many as 50 to 60 million people in the United States suffer from this condition; it's especially common in people over age 55 and strongly associated with hearing loss. Pulsatile tinnitus may be more noticeable at night, when you're lying in bed, because more blood is reaching your head, and there are fewer external sounds to mask the tinnitus. The resulting electrical noise takes the form of tinnitus — a sound that is high-pitched if hearing loss is in the high-frequency range and low-pitched if it's in the low-frequency range. Tinnitus can be a side effect of many medications, especially when taken at higher doses (see "Some drugs that can cause or worsen tinnitus"). A 2010 review of six studies by the Cochrane Collaboration (an international group of health authorities who evaluate randomized trials) found that after CBT, the sound was no less loud, but it was significantly less bothersome, and patients' quality of life improved. A device is inserted in the ear to generate low-level noise and environmental sounds that match the pitch, volume, and quality of the patient's tinnitus.
In a Cochrane review of the one randomized trial that followed Jastreboff's protocol and met the organization's standards, TRT was much more effective in reducing tinnitus severity and disability than a technique called masking (see below). Patients learn how to alter these processes and reduce the body's stress response by changing their thoughts and feelings. I have checked with a doctor and he has found nothing wrong with the ear, but has suggested that I see a specialist. To quote Professor Pawel Jastreboff, the founder of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: it results from the brain over-compensating for the presence of a small irregularity in the functioning of the cochlea or auditory nerve. Yet others will hear a rhythmic sound, in time with their heartbeat, defined as pulsatile tinnitus.
Many people worry that tinnitus is a sign that they are going deaf or have another serious medical problem, but it rarely is. This kind of tinnitus resembles phantom limb pain in an amputee — the brain is producing abnormal nerve signals to compensate for missing input.
Hearing loss treatments depend on the cause and include hearing aids, sound-amplifying devices, and antibiotics if the cause is an infection. There are a variety of causes of hearing loss besides congenital hearing loss, including ear infections, genetic disorders, illnesses that trigger hearing loss, head injuries, medications, and more.



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