Tinnitus is ringing sound or noise, which originates within the ear. Commonly described as a ringing in the ear, it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. It may be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched.
It is a common condition affecting about 10-15% of population. And although it is known to be a symptom and not a disease, it can be a part of an underlying disease. It can affect one or both ears and may be present all the time, or it may come and go. Tinnitus can be extremely disturbing to people who have it. But in many cases it is not a serious problem, but rather a nuisance. However, some people with tinnitus may require medical or surgical treatment.
Tinnitus can arise in any of the four sections of the hearing system; the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear and the brain.
Types of tinnitus
Tinnitus is generally divided into two types:
- Objective tinnitus: noises that can be heard even by others.
- Subjective tinnitus: noises that can only be heard by the patient only.
What causes tinnitus?
Impacted wax, middle ear infections, menieres disease, otosclerosis, old age loud noises, certain drugs, brain tumors, tumors of middle ear, arterial aneurysm, low levels of hemoglobin, hypertension, hypotension, low blood glucose, epilepsy and migraine can also present as tinnitus.
Tinnitus is louder in the night because, when your surroundings are quiet, your tinnitus seems louder and more bothersome.
How the cause of tinnitus diagnosed?
Tinnitus is only a symptom of an underlying problem. You should have an ENT evaluation regarding the nature of the condition and detailed ENT examination with special attention given to conditions associated with tinnitus and a full hearing evaluation by an audiologist.
How is tinnitus treated?
The most effective treatment for tinnitus is to eliminate the underlying cause. Tinnitus, in some cases, can be a symptom of a treatable medical condition. Unfortunately, in many cases, the cause of tinnitus cannot be identified, or medical or surgical treatment is not an option.
ENT specialist routinely identifying the cause of tinnitus and providing treatment and management. A treatment that is useful and successful for one person may not be appropriate for another. So it is mandatory to have a thorough ENT evaluation to find out the cause for tinnitus.
Dr. Pradeep Divakaran
Bahrain Specialist Hospital Clinics, West Riffa
Email: [email protected]sh.com.bh