Ear Ringing or Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a common yet irritating and sometimes debilitating symptom of an underlying condition in the hearing system. Sufferers complain of perceived sounds in one of both ears. These sounds can vary greatly amoungst patients and can be any sort of “head noise” from ringing, buzzing, crickets, electric line hum, ocean waves, whoosing, roaring, clicking or even pulsing type of tones. Tinnitus can be intrusive and disrupt patients’ sleep cycles and their ability to concentrate. It can be the result of an immediate exposure to loud noise or a series of exposures over time. It is can also be the result of certain medications. It can indicate a medical problem in the ear or in the head or neck area. It can also result from cardiovascular or other conditions affecting blood flow. Of the 40 million Americans living with tinnitus, the condition is severely debilitating and interferes with day to day activities. Various treatment strategies exist and can include rehabilitation, sound masking technology, hearing aids, and other treatments for underlying causes. Physicians should direct individuals to ENT doctors and Doctors of Audiology to have their entire hearing system evaluated and additional tinnitus evaluation. Results of special testing can indicate which treatment plan may work best for each individual patient. When patients address the underlying hearing issues and tinnitus symptoms, the tinnitus will frequently abate in about 80% if the cases after about 6 months.