Tinnitus: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Dr. Raman Abrol, a senior ENT specialist at Abrol ENT institute and research center, is here to talk and address the causes, symptoms, and treatment for tinnitus.
Why do you hear the ringing sound in your ear?
A person can live with a running nose or an upset stomach for a while, but a constant ringing noise in your ear can be alarming. Ear ringing is a prevalent ear infection. In the general population, 15 to 20% of people have ear ringing symptoms. This ear ringing is called Tinnitus. This is a disease symptom; it is not a disease itself. According to Dr. Abrol, when a person’s medical history is checked, it’s a symptom of hearing loss or dizziness. It is mostly seen in old-aged people.
What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
Dr. Abrol has explained the symptoms, causes of the ringing, and treatment based on its types. The person feels a constant noise in his/her ear or head, especially in silence or while lying down trying to sleep. Dr. Abrol lists down the types of ear ringing the patient’s experiences:
- Insect ringing (crickets)
- Engine noise
Types of tinnitus symptoms
Subjective Tinnitus: This is the most commonly found symptom in the general population. If the patient is the only one who can hear the noise in his/her ear or head when there is complete silence, it is subjective Tinnitus. If one has this symptom, the disease is mainly in the inner ear or sometimes in the brain. According to Dr. Abrol, hearing power usually weakens with old age and it’s a symptom of deafness or some severe ear infections. Therefore, age is a significant factor here, and this symptom is seen majorly in old age people.
Risk factors for subjective tinnitus:
Dr. Raman Abrol states most patients suffer from Subjective Tinnitus and are old aged; the gist of the treatment is cycle therapy, speech therapy, and rehabilitation therapy. If the cause of its symptom is not severe or does not pose any danger, the patient is just made used to the sound in their ear or head so that it no longer bothers them. He also adds that the main objective of Subjective Tinnitus is to make the patient used to the sound, and 50% of the time, this sound stops on its own or increases in some cases. But in Objective Tinnitus, the patient has to get therapy, and in some cases, surgery is needed.
The sound perceived by the patient is mostly because of benign problems. Various hearing tests are to be done to diagnose this, like Audiometry for all the patients and a Hearing Test or MRI or even CT scan of the brain for some exceptional cases.
What is Objective Tinnitus?
Objective Tinnitus is a perceived sensation of sound that can be heard by the examiner as well. In this symptom, the sound of the ringing in the ear or head is in sync with the heartbeat, called pulsatile Tinnitus. The primary cause of this symptom is blood vessels. The blood vessel near the eardrum becomes prominent, or a tumor or lesion is formed that transmits sound with every heartbeat.
How is objective tinnitus diagnosed?
To diagnose this symptom that is mainly pulsatile, the patient has to get Angiography, Ultrasound, MRI, or even MRI-Angio to find out the culprit blood vessel. Broadly both these types of Tinnitus are to be diagnosed and treated even though there are rarely any severe cases.