Hearing problems come in many different forms, causing patients to experience a wide range of signs and symptoms. At DeSoto Eye and Ear, tinnitus is amongst the most frequently diagnosed hearing-related symptoms.
Tinnitus—often described as a constant ringing, buzzing, humming or clicking sound in the ear—affects about 1 in 5 people across America.
Common Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a symptom rather than a condition, meaning that it results from some other problem. In some cases, our audiologist can determine the cause of your tinnitus; in others, however, the source remains a mystery. The most common causes of tinnitus include hearing loss, sudden or prolonged exposure to loud noise, an accumulation of wax in the ear canal and the natural aging process. Other causes include:
- Ototoxic medications— This group of pharmaceuticals contains more than 200 over-the-counter and prescription drugs including aspirin, quinine, chemotherapy medications and diuretics.
- Illness and disease—Several known illnesses trigger tinnitus including Ménière’s disease, thyroid disorders, heart disease, vascular disorders, hypertention, Lyme disease, tumors, neuromas and fibromyalgia.
- Trauma—Sudden injuries to the head, neck, back or ears due to traumatic events like getting in a car accident, falling, being punched or playing contact sports often impact the auditory or nervous systems and trigger tinnitus.
Audiologist can sometimes treat the underlying causes of tinnitus, but there’s no cure for the symptom itself. Since the sources of tinnitus are diverse and often indeterminable, treatment options vary greatly from patient to patient. In order to diagnose and treat your tinnitus, we may need to review your past and present medical history, perform a physical examination and evaluate your hearing. Possible options include:
- Removing earwax
- Changing medications
- Treating your medical condition
- Undergoing noise suppression therapy
- Utilizing sound masking techniques
- Using a tinnitus retraining device