Ringing in the ear? Get yourself an audio check



Tinnitus is the term used for noises or sounds which are heard in one or both ears or in the head which do not come from an external source. They are often described as a high-pitched ringing but can also be described as a buzzing, hissing, pulsing, whistling, roaring, or various other sounds. Tinnitus can be very mild in loudness and only noticeable in a quiet room or it can become extremely loud and annoying to the point where the sufferer hears nothing else. It can be present all of the time or occur intermittently. The loudness of the tinnitus often varies in intensity depending on several factors including stress, diet, and noise exposure. Tinnitus, like chronic pain, is subjective. Many tinnitus sufferers have difficulty sleeping and/or concentrating, and many are depressed.

While tinnitus does not cause hearing loss, it may accompany decreased hearing and other symptoms such as a feeling of pressure in the ear and/or unsteadiness, dizziness or vertigo. Disorders in the outer ear such as excessive ear wax (cerumen), a foreign body, perforated eardrum, or a hair touching the eardrum. Often, removal of the problem (wax, hair, etc.) will relieve the tinnitus.

Anyone with tinnitus should have a complete audiological evaluation by a qualified audiologist. A referral to an otolaryngologist may be recommended if a medical evaluation is warranted. Patients with tinnitus are often told that there is no medical cure or treatment for their condition. This is not entirely true. Although there may be no cure for the tinnitus, it can often be successfully managed. There are various treatments available which may give varying degrees of relief: Counseling - aimed at reducing the stress and distraction associated with the tinnitus. It is important to change the person's perception of the tinnitus. Consideration of Diet - often high levels of salt and caffeine, as well as nicotine, can cause an increase in tinnitus.

So next time you have ringing in the ear and it continues don’t neglect it and get yourself checked.

Source: Canadian Academy of Audiology

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