A ringing, buzzing, whistling, hissing, or other noise heard one or both ears in the absence of external noise.
In tinnitus, the acoustic nerve transmits impulses to the brain, not as the result of vibrations produced by external sound waves, but, for reasons that are not fully understood, as the result of stimuli originating inside the head or within the ear itself. Tinnitus is almost always associated with hearing loss, particularly that due to presbyacusis (age-related loss of hearing) and exposure to loud noise. The condition can also occur as a symptom of ear disorders such as labyrinthitis, Ménière’s disease, otitis media, otosclerosis, ototoxicity, and blockage of the ear canal with earwax. It may also be caused by certain drugs, such as aspirin or quinine, or may follow a head injury.
The noise in the ear can sometimes change in nature or intensity. In most cases, however, it is present continuously, although the affected individual may not be aware of its presence all the time. Tolerance of tinnitus varies from one person to another. Many people learn to accept and live with the condition, while other people find it almost intolerable.
Any underlying disorder is treated if possible. Many sufferers of tinnitus make use of various means, such as a radio, television, cassette player, or headphones, to block out the noise in their ears. A tinnitus masker, a hearing-aid type device that plays white noise (a random mixture of sounds at a wide range of frequencies), may be effective.
Articles about Tinnitus
- Understanding and managing tinnitus
- Tinnitus - medical article for doctors - quite technical
- About Progressive Tinnitus Management - series of articles about latest tinnitus management programme in US - technical
- About tinnitus - article for patients
- What is tinnitus?
- What causes tinnitus?
- The symptoms of tinnitus
- Hypnotherapy for tinnitus
- Alternative tinnitus remedies
- Tinnitus Miracle review