Sounds are pleasing to the ears; it gives a kind of sensation, vibes and feeling. A sound becomes a thing of concern when it is unpleasing or constitute disturbance to the ear.

WHAT IS TINNITUS?

Tinnitus refers to the ringing, and whistling sounds in the ears. These sounds could also be in form of clicking, hissing or buzzing. This happens when we consciously hear a sound that does not come from any source outside the body. The sound could be soft or loud, high or of a low pitch.

Tinnitus is not a disease; it is a condition that results from a wide range of underlying causes.

COMMON CAUSES OF TINNITUS

1. Exposure to loud noise or sounds

2. Age related hearing loss

3. Ear bone changes

4. Earwax blockage

5. Ear infection

6. Foreign or unwanted objects in the ear

7. Neurological damage

SYMPTOMS OF TINNITUS

Tinnitus symptoms may include the following

1. Clicking

2. Humming

3. Roaring

4. Hissing and,

5. Buzzing

TYPES OF TINNITUS

Tinnitus cannot be objectively measured; the condition is often clinically rated from slight to catastrophic according to the difficulties it imposes, such as: interfering with sleep, normal daily activities and quiet activities.

1. Subjective tinnitus: This is the most common type of tinnitus affecting children and adults. It is called ‘subjective’ because only the person with the condition can hear the sound.

 Causes of subjective tinnitus include:

a. Ear problems and hearing loss

b. Loud noise or musicc.

c. Head injury

d. Thyroid disease

Other causes include: Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Migraine, Sleep paralysis

2. Objective Tinnitus: This type is very rare. It is called ‘objective’ because during examination a physician or clinician can also hear the sound by placing a stethoscope near the affected ear.

RISK FACTORS FOR TINNITUS

The following exposure or condition increases the likelihood of experiencing tinnitus:

a. Smoking

b. Cardiovascular problems

c. Age

d. Consistent exposure to noise or loud sounds

DIAGNOSING TINNITUS

If you have hearing problem, which presented with hearing sounds such as ringing and other sounds you should see a physician for proper examination. They may ask questions about your symptoms; examine the outer and inner part of your ears to ascertain the problem. They may also carry out simple hearing test or blood test to look for condition that is sometimes associated with tinnitus so as to be able to treat appropriately.

TREATMENT

There is no cure for tinnitus. For most cases, the physician treats the underlying cause which may include taking prompt care of an ear infection, treating any temporomandibular joint problem and discontinuing using any ototoxic medications.

PREVENTION

The precautionary measures listed below can help to prevent certain kinds of tinnitus

1. Taking care of one’s cardiovascular health, through regular exercise and other practices that enhances blood flow and keep the blood vessel healthy

2. Avoid exposing the ears to loud noises or loud sound

3. Stop smoking

4. Avoid drinking of alcohol

5. If you work in industries where loud sound is a regular occurrence ensure you use an ear guard when working in the industrial environment.

REFERENCES
Tinnitus. National Institute on Deafness andOtherCommunicationDisorders. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/tinnitus. Accessed Dec. 9, 2018.

Causes. American Tinnitus Association. https://www.ata.org/understanding-facts/causes. Accessed Dec. 9, 2018.

Roberts, L. E., Eggermont, J. J., Caspary, D. M., Shore, S. E., Melcher, J. R., & Kaltenbach, J. A. (2010, November 10). Ringing ears: The neuroscience of tinnitus [Abstract]. The Journal of Neuroscience. 30(45): 14972-14979
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/30/45/14972.abstract

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