Causes And Treatments For Ringing In Ears
Almost everyone will experience ringing in ears, or tinnitus, at some point in their lives. Certain populations are more prone to be afflicted with this problem, although no population is immune. The ringing in ears noise, which is the hallmark of tinnitus, can occur due to a problem in any part of the ear structure. Treatments for this nuisance are not always necessary, and when it is necessary it can range from medical management to surgical intervention.
What is Tinnitus?
As mentioned previously, tinnitus is the technical name for ringing in the ears. Although the ringing sound is considered the hallmark symptom for tinnitus, it’s not all-inclusive. Other types of sounds or noises people with tinnitus can experience are: a swishing sound that seems to originate deep in the ear canal, dull, low vibrating noise or any other type of noise that seems to be in the ear or head.
What Populations are more prone to Tinnitus?
Although anyone can experience a ringing in the ears sound at anytime in their lives, there are certain populations of people that appear to me more affected than most. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has reported that men between the ages of 65 to 74 are the highest group of people affected by tinnitus.
In fact, approximately 12 percent of this age group has chronic ringing in the ears.
People who are Caucasian tend to be affected more often, while people living in the southern part of the United States are two times more likely to suffer from tinnitus than those living in the north.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Any part of the ear can be the culprit in tinnitus. Although tinnitus is a problem, it generally isn’t a stand-alone one. Normally, ringing in ears cause is the result of another malady, which means it is a symptom for another problem.
For example, the most common reason a person has tinnitus is due to hearing loss. Hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process, even if a person takes care of his or her ears throughout his or her life. Damage to the cochlea, the part of the ear that enables a person to hear, is the most common reason for hearing loss.
A person who experiences some sort of trauma to the ear and cochlea will most often experience a ringing in both ears, especially if the trauma occurred to both ears. A person who has tinnitus can make it worse by doing anything that can potentially make the hearing worse. Things like listening to loud music or other noises or taking certain drugs that are known to affect the hearing commonly make tinnitus worse.
It should be known that loud music is a huge problem in the world of hearing loss today. Approximately ten million people have suffered irreversible hearing loss due to loud music, and 30 million more people are exposed to high decibels that are strong enough to damage the ears each day.
Treatments for Ringing in the Ears
Ringing in ears treatment depends largely upon what the tinnitus is caused from, how severe it is, and whether or not it interferes with a person’s daily activities. Although 12 million people suffer from this problem, only one million have such a severe case that it interferes with daily functioning.
Treatment for tinnitus that occurs from damage to the cochlea generally involves watchful waiting. For those who cannot function normally as a result of the tinnitus, medical interventions include: anti-anxiety and/or antidepressant medications, maskers – small devices that create white noise to drown out the ringing in ears and treating the underlying medical condition that is causing the tinnitus.
Tinnitus can be a very bothersome condition. While there are potentially many different causes for tinnitus, the most common causes are hearing loss, medications and the aging process itself.
Treatments can include watchful waiting to surgical intervention to repair the underlying causative agent in tinnitus.