Tinnitus is a type of hearing disorder. It can be called as some weird sounds in the ear. There will be a humming sound inside the ear. When a ringing or buzzing sound comes in one ear or both of the ear, and you know that it is not from an outside source, it can be tinnitus. The word tinnitus is originated from the Latin word “tinnier,” which in English means “ringing.” The person who has this condition can only hear the sounds. There is another type of tinnitus called objective tinnitus. In this condition, the doctor could also hear the sound like the heartbeat or blood flow. This kind of tinnitus is usually very rare. The most tinnitus is subjective tinnitus. This tinnitus can come in both ears.
Studies show that about 50% of the population hear these kinds of noises in their ear once in their lifetime. And about 20% have chronic tinnitus and are under treatment. Chronic tinnitus can last up to 3 months. Usually, the symptoms of tinnitus come in the middle age between 50 to 60 years old.
Tinnitus cannot be considered as a condition itself. It usually happens due to some other problems in the body like ear injury, age-related hearing loss, etc. Most of the time, having tinnitus may not be a sign of something very serious. For some people, tinnitus can better with proper treatment, and in some, during old age, it can become worse. The treatment of the real problem that causes this production of sounds in the ear usually helps to avoid tinnitus. Most of the treatment usually masks and reduces the noise-making tinnitus less noticeable.
How to recognize tinnitus?
The condition of having tinnitus can be due to various reasons. Not all the reasons for tinnitus are the same. It can change depending on the duration, frequency, intensity, etc. of the condition. There are mainly four categories or levels for tinnitus: acute, chronic, subjective, and objective. It is important to observe the sounds like: when does it commonly occur? When will it become more severe? Does the ringing occur on both sides of the ear? Does the movement of the head cause any change in the sound? Etc.
Reason for tinnitus:
The exact reason for tinnitus is not known. The doctors say that it can be due to some problem in the inner ear. But it can also come due to some infection in the ear, injuries to cerebral vertebrae, acute hearing loss, or even an acoustic shock-like perception of sudden loud noise, etc. There are other suggestions like the foreign bodies in the ear, and wax, along with the physical illness or stress of the body can also cause tinnitus. The tinnitus can lead to other problems like inner ear infections, defect of the eardrum, perilymphatic fistulas, middle ear infections, etc. It can sometimes lead to loss of hearing too. Most of the time, tinnitus can be a symptom of other problems like stress, headaches, migraines, sleeping disorder, irritability, etc. The use of ototoxic drugs, impacted ear wax, and infection in the middle ear are some of the lesser-known causes of tinnitus, but it can create the same effect.
How tinnitus affect the daily life?
Tinnitus can have different impacts on a person’s life. It can affect both mentally and physically. Many people having tinnitus are not bothered about it and do not take any medical assistance. But on the other hand, for many patients having tinnitus is annoying, intrusive, and distracting to their daily life. Having a buzzing sound in the ear can be a lot of disturbing. It becomes more disturbing when you don’t know where exactly it is coming and what the reason is for it. The truth that some other problems can cause tinnitus produces more tension in the people, making them restless and anxious. The main impact tinnitus can have in your daily life is, it will affect your concentration, will disturb your sleep, hearing loss, and can cause various emotional reactions. Of these, most reported problems are unable to fall asleep.
Concentration: If you are studying or doing something very important in a relatively silent atmosphere and suddenly hear an alarm sound, it cannot be very reassuring, symptoms when you have tinnitus. The constant buzzing sound in your ear hinders you from concentrating on something. For some, this sound can be ignored, but for others, it can be so distracting. If your tinnitus, it will distract you from your daily tasks that need much concentration.
Disrupted sleep: The studies show that people with tinnitus often show trouble to sleep. If it is a noisy place, you can somewhat avoid the sound in the ear. But during sleeping, the surroundings will be really quiet, and this sound attracts the attention. At that moment, it will difficult to avoid the tinnitus sound. And people can also wake up in between the sleep because of these sounds. Being aware of the tinnitus makes it hard to fall asleep. If this distraction from sleep continues for a long time, you can become sleep deprived and insomniac.
Emotional reaction: The continuous exposure of the humming sound inside the ear can be annoying. And it can make you go crazy. This irritation can often induce some other emotional reactions like frustration, anger, and some time depression or anxiety. In most extreme conditions, it can also impose suicidal thoughts. So it is to be known that tinnitus is more than just a physical problem.
Hearing loss: Many people who experience tinnitus also gradually have hearing loss. If you have difficulty hearing, it can affect your life in a really bad way. You may not be able to be in a conversation, attend a meeting, and become less socializing because of the consciousness that you may ask people to repeat themselves. If you are not able to hear well, you are also prone to bouts of tinnitus, which can have a significant impact on the way you live. You may become isolated, and even the smallest daily task will become very difficult to do.
It will also affect the person to have a good conversation because of the constant disturbance. The unpleasant fact of tinnitus is that it does not go away. The treatment for tinnitus is known once the doctor understands about the intensity, duration of the sound and find out if any other physical problems cause the tinnitus.
If it is due to some other physical conditions, the doctor will reduce the noise by treatments. Removal of the ear wax can decrease tinnitus symptoms—treating the blood flow or blood vessel condition, or by changing the medications that can treat tinnitus along with the other physical condition is another method of treatment. Sometimes you can suppress the noise if it is very severe using electronic devices like hearing aids, masking devices, etc.
Researchers and doctors are continuously looking for new and effective ways to help patients to overcome the problem or even to decrease the effect of tinnitus. But the problem is the strategies are not equally appropriate for all the patients.