Updated: May 18, 2022
A ringing in your ears, a buzzing sound, a roaring, a whizzing; no matter how it is called, it is simply annoying. There are many questions about this topic. Here we will answer the 8 more common questions.
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1. What is tinnitus?
First, tinnitus is just a symptom. That means that the bothering sound that you hear is telling you that there is something wrong with your auditory system.
2. What causes tinnitus?
Many cases are due to hearing loss, but it also can be secondary to an ear or sinus infection, brain tumor, or ear canal blockage. Certain medical conditions can also be the cause of your tinnitus, like, for example, high blood pressure, anemia, thyroid problems, etc. Exposure to loud noises, like in certain occupations such as soldiers, rock musicians, aircraft workers, etc. can cause tinnitus, too. There are medications, like some antibiotics, certain anticonvulsants, aspirin, some anti-inflammatory drugs, etc. that can cause or worsen tinnitus.
3. How is tinnitus diagnosed?
Remember that tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. Therefore, depending on your physical exam and medical history, your doctor can order certain tests to find the cause of your tinnitus. For example, he can order a hearing test, labs, imaging tests, or ask you to do certain movements during your physical exam.
4. Are there any treatments for tinnitus?
Yes, the solution is to treat the cause. For example, if your tinnitus is due to a blockage of earwax, the treatment is removing it. If your tinnitus is due to a health condition like high blood pressure, you need to have your blood pressure under control. In the case where tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, it can improve with hearing aids.
5. Is there a cure for tinnitus?
No, there is no cure for tinnitus. What exists is treatments to improve tinnitus.
6. Can tinnitus be prevented?
The answer is yes and no. Although there is no drug to prevent tinnitus, you can prevent it by avoiding some of the causes. For example, keep your ears clean of earwax. Also, try to avoid exposure to loud noises, or wear earplugs or muffs. And try to have a healthy lifestyle to prevent the development of diseases that might lead to the development of tinnitus. However, some causes cannot be prevented like tumors, the natural aging process, or blood vessels disorders, to mention some.
7. What are the risk factors for tinnitus?
Exposure to loud noises is number one on the list. Then we have old age, being a male, and certain health conditions, like high blood pressure, head or neck injury, or arthritis. Alcohol consumption and smoking increase the risk of developing tinnitus.
8. What are the complications of tinnitus?
When you suffer from tinnitus it can cause you anxiety, depression, stress, and sleeping problems. Other people present headaches related to tinnitus, trouble concentrating, and fatigue.
Now, you have a better idea of what is tinnitus, its causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, among other things. But if you have additional questions, please let me know through the contact form. And remember to have a healthy lifestyle and stay tuned for the next topic.
1. Tinnitus. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156/Accessed on January 26, 2022.
2. Understanding Tinnitus—the Basics. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-tinnitus-basics/Accessed on January 26, 2022.
3. Tinnitus: Ringing in the ears and what to do about it. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears-and-what-to-do-about-it/Accessed on January 26, 2022.
4. Tinnitus. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/tinnitus/Accessed on January 26, 2022.
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