Affecting up to 20% of the population, tinnitus is a common experience where you hear phantom sounds, noises that don’t exist as sound energy. It’s often temporary, affecting your hearing after you’ve experienced a loud environment, such as a concert, factory, or firing range. Sometimes, though, tinnitus persists due to its underlying cause.
While tinnitus isn’t itself harmful, it can be annoying and even stressful for some people. It does, however, usually respond to treatment, so when you’re bothered by these phantom sounds, it’s time to contact Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center to find the treatment solution that’s right for you.
It’s not just ringing
Tinnitus is often referred to as ringing in the ears, and ringing sounds are frequently what sufferers describe. However, that’s not the only type of sound you might experience.
For some people, their phantom noises are more like the hum of electrical appliances, or the buzzing of an electric razor. You may hear sounds that resemble humming or indistinct human voices. Tinnitus can also sound like hissing or clicking. There’s no single sound heard by everyone with the condition.
Most types of tinnitus are called subjective. Only you can hear the noises, which can be constant or intermittent. Objective tinnitus is rare, caused by blood vessels, muscle contractions, or middle ear conditions. A doctor can detect the sound produced by this type of tinnitus.
Causes of tinnitus
The reasons why you hear the phantom sounds of subjective tinnitus are often not known. It often accompanies age-related hearing loss, or it might emerge after exposure to loud noise.
Short-term noise exposure usually results in temporary tinnitus, while long-term exposure is more likely to be permanent. Earwax blockages are sometimes behind new cases of tinnitus.
Certain conditions often feature tinnitus as a symptom, including Ménière’s disease, head and neck injuries, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or tumors in the neck and head.
Some drugs cause tinnitus or make it worse. You may be affected if you’re taking antibiotics, diuretics, high doses of aspirin, some antidepressants, or cancer medications.
When to see a doctor
Some people find the constant presence of tinnitus sounds distracting enough to cause stress. This can interfere with your ability to concentrate or focus. If tinnitus bothers you in this way at any level, it’s time to make an appointment with Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center.
If tinnitus started when you had a cold or other respiratory infection, and it hasn’t gone away, it’s a good idea to have your ears checked, even if the tinnitus isn’t bothering you.
Sometimes, tinnitus may come on suddenly and for no reason, and it could be accompanied by hearing loss or dizziness. If this happens to you, seek medical attention as soon as possible and follow up with your ENT specialist at Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center.
Tinnitus can be troublesome, but it’s also treatable, so you don’t have to live with its effects.
Contact Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center at the most convenient of their five offices in the metro Detroit area. Call or use the booking tool at the top right of this page. A noise-free life could be closer than you think.