When you experience a ringing, buzzing, or noises without an explainable source in your head, then you probably have tinnitus. Therefore, the sound you hear within your ear is not from the outside, instead it is coming from within. Depending on the extent of the problem, this condition can either be a mere nuisance or serious.
Tinnitus is not a disease. It is a symptom for any other medical condition. This is a common disorder shared by about 36 million people and those who have tinnitus are the only ones capable of hearing the noise that is produced inside their ear.
What Causes Tinnitus?
There are four sections of your auditory system: the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, and brain. The problem could arise from any of the four sections. If you go to a soundproof area and all the outside noises are diminished, a person becomes more aware of these noises that are produced inside the brain or ears. It can be caused by a blockage of the passage of sounds, such as earwax, which enables one to become capable of hearing these inner sounds.
However, most cases of tinnitus are due to nerve damage in the inner ear. This is common amongst aging individuals as the hearing system begins to deteriorate, so that is when you develop tinnitus. Constant exposure to loud noises can also trigger tinnitus as it damages nerves inside your ear. Meanwhile, other health experts suggest that certain types of medications, especially when taken in high doses, can lead to tinnitus.
Types of Tinnitus
The type of tinnitus varies according to the severity or intensity of the sounds produced within your ear. Here are a few common types of tinnitus and their indicators:
- Tonal Tinnitus – This is the most common type of tinnitus wherein you hear a “ringing” sound in your ear. It is characterized by a continuous sound that seems to repeat constantly over a given period of time.
- Pulsatile Tinnitus – As opposed to the continuous nature of tonal tinnitus, this one is intermittent. The rate of the sound is comparable to the frequency of a heartbeat.
- Others – Some types of tinnitus produce a hissing sound; others produce a beeping sound, while a few others produce a different combination of sounds.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Since tinnitus could be an indication of some other health conditions, the symptoms for tinnitus can accompany varied types of conditions as well. Aside from the usual “ringing” or “buzzing” sound that you hear in your head or ears, here are other conditions that accompany tinnitus:
- dizzying sensation
- pain in your ear/s
- feeling of fullness in both ears
- constant headache
Depending on the extent of your tinnitus, you can be subjected to varying types of sounds that are produced in your ear. The duration or frequency of the sounds varies as well.