Tinnitus in Tarzana
Tinnitus refers to the perception of ringing or buzzing sound in one or both ears when there's actually no sound being emitted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that about one-fifth of the population suffers from Tinnitus, though it's not always debilitating or severe enough to seek medical attention.
Tinnitus is usually a symptom of an underlying problem, such as ear injury, age-related hearing impairment, or a disorder of the circulatory system. Common causes include:
- Age-related hearing loss - hearing loss, or presbycusis, begins around the age of 60 years
- Exposure to loud sounds - short-term tinnitus can result from temporary exposure to loud sounds from heavy equipment, firearms, loud music, or a loud concert. However, long-term exposure to loud noises can lead to permanent hearing loss
- Earwax blockage - ear wax traps dirt in the ear canal, but it can also accumulate causing hearing loss or eardrum irritation, both of which can lead to tinnitus
- Ear bone changes due to abnormal bone loss
There are two categories of tinnitus:
- Subjective tinnitus - this is the most common form of this ear problem, and involves sounds that only the patient can hear. This can be caused by problems in the inner, middle, or outer ear; problems with the auditory (hearing) nerves; or problems with the section of the brain that receives nerve signals for sound.
- Objective tinnitus - this is a rare type of ear problem where your doctor can also hear the sounds when performing an examination on the patient. It can be caused by muscle contractions, a middle-ear bone condition, or problem with the blood vessels.
Diagnosis and treatment
Most cases of tinnitus tend to improve without treatment. But if the tinnitus occurs suddenly without a cause, doesn't resolve within a week, or is accompanied with a respiratory infection (like a cold), dizziness, or hearing loss, then you should visit an ENT specialist for diagnosis and treatment.