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Tinnitus is a condition characterized by the presence of a constant noise within the head or ear. Tinnitus is not usually a standalone condition but rather is a symptom of an underlying condition. The type of condition that causes tinnitus can vary.
What do the noises sound like?
Tinnitus noises can be a whining, clicking, roaring or buzzing. The noise may sound more like a swishing noise or a whistling. The noise may be high pitched or very low.
What are the causes of tinnitus?
There are many things that can cause tinnitus including:
People with severe hearing loss who experience tinnitus usually have tinnitus as a result of increased brain activity. When the brain notices that the ears have stopped sending the usual amount of information to the brain, the brain responds by attempting to collect more information. This increase in brain activity produces the resulting tinnitus sound.
How is tinnitus diagnosed?
Tinnitus is diagnosed by a physician who looks for the condition causing the tinnitus. When a patient comes in with symptoms of tinnitus, the doctor may check for ear wax buildup and foreign objects in the ear. The doctor will survey the patient to detect any existing conditions that could cause the tinnitus. He or she may then administer a hearing test known as an audiogram, an MRI or a CT scan.
In some cases, the physician inspecting the patient can actually hear tinnitus when performing the exam. This condition is known as objective tinnitus. Other times, the physician can hear nothing. Cases of tinnitus wherein the sound can only be heard by the patient is known as subjective tinnitus.
How is tinnitus treated?
Tinnitus is treated by attempting to treat the underlying cause of the condition. The physician may recommend a medication or hearing aid. He or she may also attempt to remove ear wax from the patient's ear.
In cases when the doctor is unable to come up with a reason for the tinnitus, he or she might simply prescribe a tool such as a white noise machine to help drown out the sound and make life more tolerable for the patient.
For more information about tinnitus and how to treat it, speak with an experienced physician or company like Hearing Specialists of DuPage. He or she will be able to answer your questions and may be able to diagnose your problem if you have tinnitus.Share