Perspective

Ringing in the ears aka Tinnitus

‘’I spent two years searching for total Ringing in the ears aka Tinnitus silence in places like the high desert of Colorado, 1.6 miles underground in a nickel mine in north Ontario, and Proust’s bedroom in Paris. I thought I was getting close to my goal till I ran into tinnitus’’ -George Michelsen Foy

Mr IC has been experiencing loud noise in both ears over the last 8 months. He has applied unorthodox medications over same period to no avail. A friend came visiting and advised him to see a doctor; the blood pressure was found to be extraordinarily high. High blood pressure is one of several causes of Tinnitus.

What it is

Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no external sound is present. While often described as a ringing, it may also sound like a clicking, hiss, buzzing or roaring. Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom that can result from a number of underlying causes.

Misconceptions

1.Tinnitus is an indication that once name is being mentioned in the spirit world! 2. It could also imply that death is imminent!

Causes

Normal aging, hearing loss, loud noise (for example, from construction work), loud music from CD vendors and at concerts, gunfire etc.), medications (including some antibiotics, anti-seizure medicines, and painkillers), head or neck injuries, stiffening of the bones in the middle ear (otosclerosis), tumors (growths) within the auditory system, blood vessels or neurologic disorders, and genetic or inherited inner ear disorders.

Situations that worsen tinnitus

1.Loud Noises

When one has tinnitus — or ringing in the ears — many things can make those sounds worse. One of the most obvious is noise. Loud sounds from things like machinery, headphones, and concerts can cause short-term ringing or permanent hearing loss. Do what you can to avoid it. Move farther away. Wear earplugs. Turn down the volume. Don’t forget to protect kids’ ears, too. Responsible use of headphones is strongly advocated!

2.Drugs

The list includes antibiotics, antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cancer drugs, diuretics, aminoglycosides (eg gentamycin) and high doses of aspirin. Usually the higher the dose, the greater the chance of problems. Often if one discontinues the usage, the symptom will go away.

3.Stress

It can make the ringing seem louder. Find ways to relax and get it under control. You might try exercise, deep breathing etc. Update yourself on relaxation tips.

4.Jaw Problems

The jaw shares nerves and ligaments with the middle ear. Problems here can cause or worsen ear pain and noise in the ears.

5.Earwax

The body makes wax to trap dirt and protect the ears. But sometimes it builds up and can cause problems. That can lead to ringing and even temporary hearing loss. Your doctor can see if there’s a buildup in your ears and remove it gently. Don’t use cotton swabs to try to do it yourself! It causes solid compaction of the wax and even injury.

6.Infections

You might notice ringing not long after you’ve had a cold. If that’s the reason, it shouldn’t last long. If the noise doesn’t go away after about a week, see your ENT doctor. You could have an ear or sinus infection.

7.Allergies

Most form of allergies are known to worsen tinnitus.

8.Blood Pressure

If you are being managed for high blood pressure, monitor it regularly. Your doctor can help you control it. Sometimes low blood pressure is also to blame.

9.Sleeplessness

Insomnia can trigger tinnitus or make it worse. Aim for about 7 hours of sleep every night.

10.Migraines

The two go hand in hand. The pain can make it worse if it robs you of sleep and cranks up your stress level. Ease the migraine and the ringing could let up, too.

11.Alcohol

It could increase the blood pressure, which can make you notice the ringing more. Cut back and see if that makes the ringing better.

12.Smoking Kick the habit.

Nicotine in cigarettes and other products can make tinnitus worse. Smoking can narrow the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the ears. It can also cause blood pressure to go up.

13.Caffeine

Try cutting back on coffee or colas to see if the ringing gets better. Caffeine can also raise blood pressure, which can bring on the ringing in some people. Cut back and see if it helps.

14.Depression and Anxiety

They can make tinnitus seem louder. So can some of the drugs you take to treat them.

Other Conditions

They range from thyroid issues to anemia, autoimmune conditions, and structural problems with the inner ear.

Facts

Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom. Something can be done about tinnitus. It can be associated either with normal hearing or hearing impairment. Everyone with tinnitus do not eventually go deaf. Tinnitus sound does not necessarily have to be ringing (it can be buzzing, whooshing or humming). Hearing aid technology may improve the symptom of tinnitus. There is no “magic pill” that can be taken to cure tinnitus but there are ways to manage tinnitus that can lessen the symptoms and make them manageable. It cuts across different ages, races, health statuses and socioeconomic backgrounds. Tinnitus is not an imagination, it’s not in the head, it is real!!!!!!!!!!

Treatment

Although drugs cannot cure tinnitus, there are a few that will help suppress the symptoms you are experiencing.

Advice

Please visit your GP who will determine the appropriate course of action t, he/she might refer you to the Ear, Nose and Throat unit.

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