What is Tinnitus? What are its symptoms?

Tinnitus is a series of uproarious noises that bangs the ear or ears in the absence of any external sounds or noises. In informal language it is referred to as whistling, buzzing, hissing, ringing and etc. Definitely not categorized as a medical condition, it is a kind of symptom that is triggered as a result of an underlying mental or physical condition. The gravity of tinnitus varies from person to person. If tinnitus is caused as a result of mental stress, then the severity of the symptom is directly proportional to the magnitude of stress experienced by the person in that particular day.

The outcome of a research performed by an U.S government agency indicates that approximately around 25 million Americans suffer from Tinnitus, of which many are adults. Though it isn’t a very serious symptomatic condition, it is highly annoying in nature at many circumstances.

Tinnitus Causes

The exact triggering factor of this symptomatic condition hasn’t been identified yet. However, it is perceived that abnormality in the sound hearing potential of the brain and the interpretation capacity of the brain is what that triggers excessive noise in the ears. Sometimes, it can also be as a result of inner ear damage. Dysfunction in jaw and joint and chronic neck muscle strain are also the other probable causes of Tinnitus along with the build-up of earwax, infection in the middle-ear, glue ear, perforated eardrum and otosclerosis. The rare causes are head injury, being anemic, negative reactions to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and chemotherapy medicines. However, the above mentioned causes aren’t hypothetically proved. Tinnitus can also be caused as a result of sleeping disorders.

Symptoms

Relentless ringing in the ears is one of the primary symptoms of Tinnitus. The loudness of the noise heard in the ears is to such an extent that it makes a person feel frustrated and irritated. On most cases, the nature of noise heard is of buzzing or ringing type. On some rare instances, the sound is followed by loss in hearing potential, which is partial in nature rather not complete. Sometimes, upon hearing such noises, people will find difficulty in hearing the external sounds. Frequently, people complain of dizziness and laziness whilst experiencing such noises.

Effects of Tinnitus

Individuals affected of tinnitus are most likely to experience anxiety and depression, which thereby impacts their concentration and attention abilities.

Diagnosis

Given the medical advancement, diagnosis of tinnitus is being performed through many means with the help of modern diagnostic instruments. The focus of examination is on head, ears and neck. This is to identify whether these body parts contribute to the cause of tinnitus. Below are the tests for tinnitus diagnosis. Medications for tinnitus also undergo relay clinical trial.

  • Audiological exam, through which the hearing potential of a person is ascertained.
  • Movement- Person under diagnosis will be asked to move the eyes, jaw, neck, and legs.
  • Imaging tests like MRI scans or CT

The above mentioned diagnostic procedures are universally accepted. Hence, it is less likely for hospitals to deploy some other diagnostic tests. However, there is a possibility new diagnostic procedures, being used to identify tinnitus.