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How to Recognize the First Signs of Tinnitus
Are you experiencing persistent ringing in the ears? If so, this is a condition called tinnitus, and a visit to your ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor can help you determine the best course of action for this common hearing condition.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a constant ringing in the ears that can sound like a number of sounds, including a ringing, buzzing, humming or another type of low-level noise that interferes with your day-to-day activity. Some people may be able to tune out the buzzing out, but for others, it can impact their quality of life.
Tinnitus is usually a symptom of another underlying condition such as age-related hearing loss, an injury or illness that has affected your hearing or a problem with your circulatory system. In any case, you should have further investigations to determine the cause of the tinnitus and the best treatment options.
Tinnitus can be either objective or subjective. Subjective tinnitus is caused by damage to the outer, middle or inner ear, usually due to age or exposure to loud noises over time. Objective tinnitus is less common and is caused by damage to the middle ear bone, muscle contractions or blood vessel damage. An ENT doctor can determine which type of tinnitus you have.
There is currently no known cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments to alleviate the symptoms.
The First Signs of Tinnitus
Recognizing the first signs of tinnitus can help you to get treatment faster and learn how best to live with this condition.
Ringing In the Ears
As mentioned above, ringing in the ears is usually the first sign people get, but it isn’t always a ringing. People describe it in different ways, including buzzing, a high-pitched noise or a low hum that is more noticeable when it is quiet. For this reason, more people notice the symptoms at nighttime when getting ready for bed or simply sitting alone with no distractions.
Some people describe tinnitus as a musical hallucination, meaning they hear music that isn’t there. It could be a song you are thinking of that you suddenly hear or think you can hear the music you have listened to earlier in the day but isn’t currently playing. If this sounds familiar, then you could have tinnitus.
Thumping In the Ears
Tinnitus may also feel like there is a heartbeat in your ears. This is the sound of blood rushing through your blood vessels; some people can hear this. Most noticeable at bedtime, this is called pulsatile tinnitus, and you should consult an ENT doctor for more advice.
Hearing loss can be age-related or related to an injury or medical condition. While it can be temporary, it is best to get any levels of hearing loss checked out, so you know what you are dealing with and find the right type of hearing aid for your needs. As tinnitus is often related to hearing loss, you may also notice you are experiencing lower levels of hearing and struggling to listen to things you never once had an issue with.
Living with constant noise in your ears can be highly distracting and debilitating. It is little wonder that people who live with tinnitus also experience higher levels of anxiety and depression than those who don’t experience a constant noise in their ears.
When you first experience tinnitus, it might be in relation to exposure to different conditions such as loud noises at a concert, festival or similar event or even an illness or injury. And if this is the case, it will likely resolve on its own. However, if you find you are experiencing any changes with your hearing on an ongoing basis or you are concerned you are hearing sounds that aren’t there, then this needs further investigation. Whether the noises are there constantly or come in short bursts, lasting from five minutes or days before subsiding, there is a chance you have tinnitus.
If this sounds familiar, you need more information; an ear and throat specialist can help you find the cause of the problem. To learn more about ENT Specialists and how tinnitus and your hearing are intertwined or discuss any other aspect of your hearing, call us today at (402) 983-9948 and book your appointment today.