Tinnitus is the medical term given for regular ringing or buzzing noise on the ears. There will be onset of sudden ringing in ear that lasts for few minutes. Here the affected person will hear a strange noise that does not exist physically and the sound will keep in time with that of your heartbeat. The sound can become constant nuisance and come and go on its own. Ringing in ear is common on aged people who are more than 45 years. It is seen commonly in 1 out of every 5 people. Tinnitus is indicative of the underlying hearing loss due to old age. With proper treatment you can remove the noise or ringing sound on the ears.
Ringing sound, roaring or buzzing noise is the symptoms of tinnitus. The sound can be annoying for the affected person and one cannot say when it will come. Some people report of hissing noise on the ears and the intensity of noise may vary in frequency and pitch. Similarly the noise will occur either in one ear or both. For some people the sound will be so loud that it may disturb the ability of hearing and concentrating.
Subjective ringing in ear is the most common type and is experienced due to problems in the middle ear or inner ear. It can also be caused by nerve impairment on the brain that transmits nerve signals to the ear.
Objective tinnitus is one in which the doctor can hear the sound when he examines your ear.
Another category is pulsatile sound in which the noise will match with the rhythm of the heartbeat. The sound will be like the pulse or contractions of the muscle. Non-pulsatile tinnitus is experienced in both the ears and it involves the nerve signals.
One of the major causes of ringing in ear is age related hearing loss. There are many reasons for hearing noise inside the ears. It can be due to excess of earwax, intake of medications (aspirin, diuretics, cancer medicines, antidepressants) drinking alcohol and ear infection.
Even dental problems can involve ear causing noise inside. If there is sudden change in the pressure of environment you can hear sudden gushing sound inside the ears.
Ear injury or trauma and working in the atmosphere of loud noise can cause this problem. People who are in the habit of using portable devices like MP3 or iPods have increased risk of getting this problem. It is necessary to use only minimal sound when hearing music.
Malnutrition or sudden weight loss can trigger ringing noise in the ears. If you have vascular problems like carotid arthrosclerosis or sudden high blood pressure it can cause ringing sound on ear.
Nerve problems like acoustic neuroma, labyrinthitis and thyroid disease can trigger sudden noise on the ears. There are tiny hairs inside the ear that is responsible for transmitting nerve signals from the brain. If it is damaged or broken for some reasons, there will be a leakage of noise causing tinnitus.
Problems in ear bone like stiffening of ear bones on the middle ear can cause this problem.
Meniere’s disease, TMJ disorder and head injury can trigger abnormal noise on the ear.
Who are at risk?
People who work in constant noisy atmosphere like factory or construction sites are prone to get ringing noise on the ears.
Smoking and drinking, cardiovascular problems, and age can aggravate this problem.
Your doctor will do hearing examination using earphone for detecting the nature of sound. He may ask you to make frequent eye movements for identifying the underlying problem. In rare cases, MRI test or CT scan is taken for analyzing the issue inside.
Treatment depends on the underlying issues and hence the doctor will identify the exact cause that is responsible for making ringing noise on the ears.
In case if it is due to excess of earwax he will remove the wax for correcting the problem. If it is due to underlying blood vessel conditions, your doctor will have to surgically operate it for fixing the issue.
For people who take strong medications your doctor will change or reduce the dosage so that the ringing noise will stop. Noise devices like hearing aids, white noise machines are suggested remedies for this problem. In this machine, you will hear the sound of falling rain or noise of ocean waves that will suppress the ringing noise.
Some doctors recommend using masking device for blocking the noise or symptoms of ringing sound. Programmed music tones are used to mask the high pitched noise caused by tinnitus. Medications are not given for treating tinnitus but in rare cases antidepressants are given for treatment.
Lifestyle Changes :
Counseling is helpful for managing stress related problem that triggers noise. Reduce your presence in loud noisy atmosphere. You can cover up the noise by listening to soft music.