You don’t have to go about your life “just living with” your annoying tinnitus. Tinnitus is a very common problem and you may not know that it is often accompanied by hearing loss.
For some people, tinnitus is just a minor distraction but for others, it causes a constant source of stress during their daily life. Interestingly, the level of distress caused by tinnitus is often in direct proportion to the amount of attention you pay it. The more tinnitus weighs on you, the more likely it is to cause negative feelings like depression and frustration. These feelings, in turn, make you pay more attention to the tinnitus. This vicious cycle, in turn, becomes hard to break and makes people feel trapped.
What causes tinnitus?
– Noise exposure – Exposure to loud noises can damage and even destroy hair cells, called cilia, in the inner ear. Once damaged, these hair cells cannot be renewed or replaced.
– Head and neck trauma – Physical trauma to the head and neck can induce tinnitus. Other symptoms include headaches, vertigo, and memory loss.
– Certain disorders, such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, and thoracic outlet syndrome, can have tinnitus as a symptom. When tinnitus is a symptom of another disorder, treating the disorder can help alleviate the tinnitus.
– Certain types of tumors
– Wax build-up
– Jaw misalignment
– Cardiovascular disease
– Ototoxicity – Some medications are ototoxic, that is, the medications are toxic to the ear. Other medications will produce tinnitus as a side effect without damaging the inner ear. Effects, which can depend on the dosage of the medication, can be temporary or permanent. Before taking any medication, make sure that your prescribing physician is aware of your tinnitus, and discuss alternative medications that may be available. There are some websites that provide information on drug interactions.
– Pulsatile tinnitus – Rare type of tinnitus that sounds like a rhythmic pulsing in the ear, typically in time with one’s heartbeat. This kind of tinnitus can be caused by abnormal blood flow in arteries or veins close to the inner ear, brain tumors or irregularities in brain structure.