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Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't Let Tinnitus Affect Your Quality of Life

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  • Tinnitus is the sensation of a sound in the ear or head that is not being produced by an external source. Tinnitus is usually caused by a fault in the hearing system. It is a symptom, not a disease in itself. Tinnitus is a physical condition, experienced as noises or ringing in the ears or head when no such external physical noise is present. Tinnitus is often referred to as "ringing in the ears" which, upon testing, proves to be best matched by a single high frequency tone. Tinnitus is typically not a serious condition, but, it is frequently accompanied by hearing loss. Tinnitus is also a side effect of some oral medications, such as aspirin, and may also result from an abnormally low level of serotonin activity. Possible causes of tinnitus are ear wax impaction, exposure to loud noises, ear infection, tumors, ototoxic drugs, meniere's disease, and lyme disease.


    Tinnitus can be cured when the cause of tinnitus is corrected. Tinnitus can be extremely disturbing to people who have it. Tinnitus can have a great impact on a patients quality of life. Tinnitus usually appears first as a continuous high pitched sound. Tinnitus will not cause you to go deaf and statistically, 50 percent of patients may express that their tinnitus with time decreases or is hardly perceptible. Tinnitus that is not annoying and well tolerated should not be treated. Drugs that commonly cause or increase tinnitus NSAIDS (motrin, naproxin, relafen,) aspirin and other salicylates Lasix and other "loop" diuretics "mycin" antibiotics quinine and related drugs. Chemotherapy such as cis platin Rarely, some of the SSRI antidepressants.

    Hearing loss from being around loud noises is also often accompanied by tinnitus. Hearing loss worsens the effect of tinnitus, so hearing protection and avoiding loud noises is very important in preventing worsening of the symptoms. Hearing aids are ideal if there is an associated hearing loss with the tinnitus. Hearing aids are among the most effective tools for providing relief from tinnitus in individuals with hearing loss. Hearing aids take away the strain of listening and distract from the tinnitus by bringing you more environmental sounds from the outside world.


    Treatment of tinnitus should be directed toward the underlying disease, because its treatment may lessen the tinnitus. Treatment is selected based on lifestyle, personal preferences, tinnitus hyperacusis severity and cost. Treatment consists of biofeedback exercises in hourly sessions, in which the patient learns to control circulation to various parts of the body and relax muscles attached to the head. Treatment, however, does not mean cure since most tinnitus is not correctable.

    Patients with objective tinnitus typically have a vascular abnormality, neurologic disease, or eustachian tube dysfunction. Patients can mistake headache, drug reaction, fatigue, hypertension, flu, and even depression as tinnitus. Patients may hear blowing sounds within the ear coincident with breathing. Patients often have difficulty describing their tinnitus due to the scarcity of adjectives available to describe sounds of any sort. Patients should be advised to avoid loud noise, or if unavoidable, to wear appropriate ear protection.


    Stress is a prime cause of tinnitus, and in cases where this is the cause the removal of the cause of the stress is the aim. Stressful situations cause changes in our chemical make up, and alterations in such can result in forms of tinnitus that are very irritating and sometimes debilitating. Stress management, whether through relaxation therapy, biofeedback or exercise, may provide some relief.


    Masking refers to exposing the patient to other sounds in an effort to block out, or take their mind off their tinnitus. Masking is simply arranging an external sound which covers-up the tinnitus and which is readily acceptable to the patient as a substitute for their tinnitus. Masking devices are similar in appearance to hearing aids. Masking seems to work for only a few patients, but like most treatments, it is impossible to predict in advance of testing and trial which patients can be helped with this treatment.

    Medications may occasionally help lessen the noise even though no cause can be found. Medications that help people with obsessive compulsive disorder may be helpful. Medications such as anti-arrhythmics (usually used for irregular heart rhythms), antidepressants, vasodilators, tranquilizers, and anticonvulsants may help.

    Pulsatile tinnitus is usually due to a small blood vessel that is coupled by fluid to your ear drum. Pulsatile (like a heartbeat) tinnitus is often caused by sounds created by muscle movements near the ear, changes in the ear canal, or blood flow (vascular) problems in the face or neck. Pulsatile tinnitus, in which the tinnitus sounds are intermittent, continuous, or pulsating in time with the heartbeat. Pulsatile tinnitus subsides with light digital pressure applied over the ipsilateral internal jugular vein of the side with tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus of this nature usually goes away with time.


    Subjective tinnitus is described as a ringing, buzzing, hissing, or whistling sound that resembles bells, crickets, or a variety of complex sounds. Subjective tinnitus differs in that it is louder in quiet. Subjective tinnitus, which is more common, is heard only by the patient. Subjective tinnitus is by far the most common type of tinnitus.

    Objective tinnitus occurs when certain blood vessels become noisy. Objective tinnitus can be heard through a stethoscope placed over head and neck structures near the patient's ear. Objective tinnitus can occur suddenly and may be temporary because it can accompany elevated blood pressure; when the blood pressure is reduced, the tinnitus may stop as suddenly as it started. Objective tinnitus is a much rarer form of tinnitus and consists of head noises that are audible to other people in addition to the sufferer. Objective tinnitus is far less frequent than subjective tinnitus. Objective tinnitus is mostly associated with vascular or muscular disorders and relates to less than 5 percent Tinnitus cases.

    Surgery should be considered when there is a clear structural reason for tinnitus that can be improved with surgery. Only rarely is surgical treatment indicated, and even more rarely, is Tinnitus relieved. Surgery of the ear or brain is extremely dangerous, and is considered a treatment of last resort. Surgery is seldom justified and can aggravate tinnitus.


    Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. Tinnitus is most common in people over age 40. Tinnitus is common; nearly 36 million Americans have constant tinnitus and more than half of the normal population has intermittent tinnitus. Tinnitus is usually most bothersome at night or other times when it is quiet. Tinnitus is not a disease in itself. Tinnitus is usually more marked after one goes to bed and his surroundings become quiet. Tinnitus is most commonly treated with a calming sedative. Tinnitus is rarely linked to any serious problem and people usually learn to manage it quite successfully. Tinnitus is bothersome but does not impair function; consequently, people who have tinnitus usually do not seek treatment. Management consists simply of reassuring the patient and treating the underlying disorder. Avoid loud noise, loud noise is the enemy of the tinnitus patient. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. Avoid exposure to loud noises and sounds. To find out more click this link>>Tinnitus Help
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