Tinnitus

​Condition 

  • Commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing.

  • May be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched; hear it in either one or both ears.

  • Pulsatile tinnitus, a rare type, sounds like a rhythmic pulsing in the ear, usually in time with your heartbeat.

  • Affects ~ 50 million Americans; can have significant emotional, social, and economic impact.

Cause 

  • Indication of auditory system impairment, is sometimes the first sign of hearing loss in the elderly. 

  • Can also be the result of a number of health conditions: Noise-induced hearing loss, Ear and sinus infections, Diseases of the heart or blood vessels, Ménière’s disease, Brain tumors, Hormonal changes in women,Thyroid abnormalities, Traumatic Brain Injury.

  • Source is the networks of brain cells (neural circuits) that make sense of the sounds ears hear; creates illusion of sound.

  • Could be the result of the brain’s neural circuits trying to adapt to loss of sensory hair cells,inner ear damage, abnormal interactions between neural circuits.

 

Treatment 

  • Consult with primary care doctor and get referral to otolaryngologist (commonly called an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or an ENT).

  • FDA authorized 'Tinnitus Masker' : An electronic device intended to generate noise of sufficient intensity and bandwidth to mask ringing in the ears or internal head noises. 

  • Hearing aids to control outside noise levels and improve hearing.

  • Acoustic neural stimulation for severe cases.

  • Cochlear implants for those with tinnitus along with severe hearing loss.

  • NIH supported research aims to determine the neural basis of tinnitus, and to develop effective interventions for affected people.

*© 2020 by Audition Technology