Ringing, Buzzing, And Roaring: The Annoying Sounds Of Tinnitus And What You Need To Know If You Have Them
It can come on suddenly. One day you're going about your normal daily life when all of the sudden you notice a ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound in one or both of your ears.
Many people experience very brief episodes of ringing in the ears occasionally. These brief episodes, while annoying, leave nearly as quickly as they come. However, noises in the ear that linger for a period of time warrant a visit to an audiologist for an examination.
Tinnitus is the medical term used to describe a ringing in the ears or a noise heard in the ears. The condition is often benign but can be annoying enough to cause mental and emotional distress to those who suffer with it.
Sometimes an underlying physiological cause is found. Once the underlying condition is treated, the tinnitus goes away. Unfortunately, in many cases no specific cause can be found, and you are told you must learn to live with the ringing, buzzing, or roaring in your ears.
Subjective tinnitus versus objective tinnitus
There are two types of tinnitus, objective and subjective. The most common type is subjective tinnitus.
When only you can hear the noises in your ear it is referred to as subjective tinnitus. Objective tinnitus is noise in the ear that is heard by you and can also be heard by your doctor.
What causes subjective tinnitus?
Often no cause can be found for subjective tinnitus. This does not mean you are imaging the sounds you are hearing. The sounds are real and may be caused by issues with the auditory nerves. Tinnitus can also be caused by underlying issues within the inner, middle, or outer ear.
What causes objective tinnitus?
Objective tinnitus is often described as a buzzing, pulsating, or roaring sound. It frequently occurs in sync with the beating of the heart and is typically heard only in one ear. Like objective tinnitus, an underlying cause is not always found.
However, arteriovenous malformations or aneurysms in blood vessels can cause the condition.
Tinnitus is also a side effect of certain medications. It may be aggravated by high blood pressure or atherosclerosis. At times, ear canals that are blocked by wax can cause noise in the ears.
What to do if you develop tinnitus
Any unusual noise that occurs in the ear needs to be addressed by your doctor. You should have a thorough medical examination. An audiologist, who specializes in disorders of the ear, can perform tests to determine if your tinnitus is caused by an inner ear disturbance or other underlying cause.
Coping with tinnitus
Silence is not a friend of someone who suffers with tinnitus. Tinnitus can affect the quality of your life and especially the quality of your sleep. You should consider sleeping with a fan on to help muffle the noise. White noise machines are also helpful to mask ear noise. In time, many sufferers say they get used to the constant noise in the ear and it becomes less noticeable.
Tinnitus, while annoying, does not have to ruin your life. You should work closely with your doctor and audiologist to determine if a cause for your tinnitus can be found. Your health care team can also suggest ways to help you cope with tinnitus so you can continue to live a normal and productive life. For more information, contact RI ENT Physicians Inc DBA Hearing Centers of RI or a similar organization.