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Tinnitus

The tinnitus is defined as the perception of tinnitus. It affects approximately 20% of the population. It is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of a certain disorder.

Although it is true that tinnitus is very annoying, in the vast majority of cases it is not the sign of a serious disease . However, it is important to note that it can worsen with age.

What exactly?

Tinnitus is a disorder characterized by ringing in the ears , which can affect only one or both. The intensity with which it is perceived varies markedly between patients. While there are some who simply hear a very slight click, there are others who notice a high intensity hiss.

This is a relatively common sign, both among adults and children. There are those who suffer from what is known as severe tinnitus , the most aggressive form of this disorder. In this case, the intensity and frequency of the tinnitus is such that patients have great difficulties in carrying out their daily activities.

Types of tinnitus

Two types of tinnitus can be differentiated.

  • Subjective: it is known as the buzzing or noise in the ears that only the patient himself is able to perceive. It is the most common type. Usually the cause is a problem with the outer, middle, or inner ear.
  • Objective: in this case it is the buzzing that the doctor hears when performing an exam on the patient. The most common causes are disorders in the blood vessels or muscles in the area.

Types of sounds

Although the most common is that patients perceive the sound as a buzzing, there are many other noises through which tinnitus can occur.

  • Click: in this case small pops are felt that can last several seconds or minutes. They are really annoying.
  • Heartbeat: this is what is known as pulsatile tinnitus and the most common causes are related to the heart or brain: hypertension, aneurysm, etc.
  • Low-pitched ringing: When people perceive low-pitched ringing in one ear, the tinnitus is most likely caused by Menière’s disease.
  • High-pitched ringing: High -pitched ringing occurs after exposure to very loud noise, such as an explosion. Also the hearing loss typical of the elderly.

Tinnitus and depression

In some people, the noise caused by tinnitus is so annoying that it even affects their quality of life . And is that the fact of continuously perceiving a ringing in the ears can cause difficulties in concentration and attention, as well as sleep problems. That is why some research has established a relationship between depression and this disorder. It is estimated that around 50% of tinnitus patients suffer from depression.

Tinnitus and hearing loss

A high percentage of people who suffer from tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss ; the prevalence is estimated to be approximately 85%. Hearing loss affects the signals sent from the ear to the brain organ, which are returned in the form of buzzing.

While it is true that tinnitus itself does not cause hearing loss, buzzing or hissing can make it very difficult to differentiate from other sounds.

Causes of tinnitus

About the causes of tinnitus, they are very diverse. When the ringing or ringing in the ears persists for several days it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. And it is that in many cases it appears as a symptom of a certain disease.

  • Hearing Loss: Tinnitus is a relatively common sign in older people with progressive hearing loss.
  • Loud Noises – Exposure to loud noises can also cause ringing in the ears. In these cases it occurs with great intensity.
  • Infections: ear infections are another of the probable causes of this pathology. They are especially common in children.
  • Hypertension: Hypertension can cause the intensity of the ringing or noise that is perceived in the ears to be greater.
  • Ménière’s disease: Ménière’s disease is a disorder located in the inner ear. Some of its most common symptoms are dizziness and the roaring sound. In addition, in some cases patients also have hearing loss, as well as pain of moderate intensity.
  • Brain tumors: Although it is not the most common cause, tinnitus can also respond to a brain tumor, benign or malignant. The growth of abnormal cells in the brain is known as such. Depending on the speed of growth, as well as the location, the nervous system is more or less affected.
  • Thyroid problems: There are two main diseases that affect the thyroid gland: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. In addition to ringing in the ears, other common symptoms are weight change, anxiety, irritability, excessive tiredness, shortness of breath, and muscle aches.
  • Ear wax – When a large amount of wax builds up in the ear canal, the most common direct cause is hearing loss. This in turn can lead to tinnitus.
You may also be interested in:   Otosclerosis

Most common symptoms

Although in the vast majority of cases tinnitus occurs in the form of buzzing , it can present many others. Some patients perceive it as a hiss, while others notice a kind of high-pitched beep. It can also sound like a cricket chirping or a purr, although it is much less common.

Another of the signs of this pathology is poor quality of sleep . It is common for tinnitus to be more present at night, so that those who suffer from it are unable to sleep properly. A fact that significantly affects their quality of life: it generates anxiety, decreases the ability to concentrate and attention, leads to sudden mood swings, etc.

On a social level , tinnitus can prevent a person from having a conversation, especially if it is with a group.

How is it diagnosed?

Once the ringing in the ears persists for several days and its intensity increases, it is important to see a doctor to make a diagnosis and establish the appropriate treatment.

The doctor first takes a medical history , paying attention to the signs that the patient presents, as well as his physical and mental health history. You must take into account various factors, such as whether the patient is taking any medications, has other illnesses, or has recently suffered head or ear trauma.

He then proceeds with a physical examination of the head and neck. He also performs an otoscopy to check the condition of the eardrums. It is common to also request an audiometric study to check the patient’s hearing capacity.

If the doctor suspects that the cause of tinnitus is in a brain injury , the most common is to order a CT or an MRI of this organ.

Treatment of tinnitus

Once the diagnosis of tinnitus has been confirmed, an individualized treatment must be sought for each patient. As we have pointed out, ringing in the ears is not a disease as such, but the symptom of a certain disorder.

Therefore, in the diagnosis it is essential to find the cause that causes tinnitus to determine the treatment for it.

The sound therapy is helpful for those suffering from this disease. It is about generating background sounds to decrease the intensity of the hum. The therapist tries to find a noise that is similar to tinnitus. The main objective is that the brain is not able to detect it, so that less and less attention is paid to tinnitus. That is, it is about working the brain organ so that it gets used to the tinnitus.

Recommendations for tinnitus

There are a series of recommendations that are worth taking into account by those who suffer from this pathology. They are very simple and basic guidelines, but they help greatly to improve the quality of life of the affected people.

  • Relaxation exercises: the stress is one of the major risk factors. Studies have shown that high levels of stress greatly increase the intensity of the tinnitus. That is why it is recommended to perform relaxation exercises daily. Activities like yoga or tai-chi can be of great help.
  • Sleep – Experts recommend going to bed when you’re really sleepy, not when it’s time to sleep. If after half an hour the person is not able to sleep, it is best to get up and do any other activity. A good tip is to always go to bed and get up at the same time.
  • Loud noises: loud noises are precisely one of the main causes of tinnitus. Therefore, it is essential to protect your ears from them.
  • Food: a healthy and balanced diet is very important for good health. People who suffer from tinnitus, it is recommended to use little salt and sugar to promote blood circulation to the ear. It is also advisable to follow a diet rich in potassium .
  • Smoking – Quitting smoking can also help reduce ringing in the ear.
  • Physical exercise: and finally, moderate physical exercise is vital to reduce the intensity of tinnitus. Simple activities like walking or swimming can be very helpful.

Living with tinnitus can be really complicated since in some cases the tinnitus can be very annoying, even interfering with daily activities. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can be of great help. Of course, it is important to follow the basic recommendations to improve the quality of life and that the tinnitus is not an impediment to work and have an active social life.

 

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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