Q: I sometimes hear ringing in my ears, is this unusual?
Not at all. Tinnitus is the name for these head noises, and they are very common. This condition may come and go, or you might always be hearing sound. It varies in pitch (from a low squeal to a high whine) and can be present in either one or both ears.
Q: Who experiences Tinnitus?
Persons of all ages can experience ear ringing. Tinnitus is more common in the adult and senior populations. It usually happens gradually over a period of weeks, months, or years.
Q: Are there different types of Tinnitus?
There are two types of tinnitus: objective and subjective. Objective tinnitus can be heard by people around you, whereas only you can hear subjective tinnitus. The type of sound you hear can also differ. Tinnitus can be a continuous sound like a sea shell (Continuous) or pulsing like your heart beat (Pulsatile). Continuous tinnitus is the far more common type.
Q: What causes Tinnitus?
Objective Tinnitus may be caused by abnormalities in blood vessels around the outside of the ear or by muscle spasms, which may sound like clicks or crackling inside the middle ear.
Subjective Tinnitus has many causes. Temporary Tinnitus may be caused by something as simple as a small plug of wax in the ear canal. If Tinnitus persists, however, it can be a symptom of a middle or inner ear problem. Middle ear problems include: infection, a hole in the eardrum, an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear, or stiffening of the middle ear bones. Inner ear problems include: hearing loss, Meniere's Disease etc. Tinnitus is commonly associated with hearing loss due to aging (presbycusis), use of certain medications or noise exposure. Other causes of Tinnitus are allergy, high/low blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, and/or head or neck injury.
Q: How is Tinnitus treated?
Treatment differs for each individual case of Tinnitus. It is important to determine the cause of tinnitus. Once the cause is determined then the most effective treatment can be decided. Therefore complete medical and diagnostic audiological assessment should be done to determine the origin. Treatment or management of tinnitus depends on many factors and is very much individual specific. If applied properly, patient would never have to hear again the edge "you'll just have to live with it".