What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a perception of a sound in the ears or head when no external sound source is actually present. The sound is usually of ringing, but it may also be a buzzing, roaring, whistling or hissing noise. It may also vary in its quality and intensity at different times. It is very common, affecting up to one in six of the adult population. Those with normal hearing as well as the deaf or hard of hearing may be affected.
Causes of Tinnitus
There are a number of situations, which can cause damage, or over stimulation of tiny hair cells in the inner ear. This results in an irregular series of nerve impulses being sent to the brain, which are then perceived as tinnitus. Major reasons for this occurring are hearing disorders associated with aging, and exposure to loud noise. The condition can also develop following an emotional upset or an illness, injury or infection, which may or may not be related to the hearing mechanism. Tinnitus can also appear as a side effect of or reaction to some types of drugs.
How is Tinnitus is diagnosed?
Many causes of tinnitus are already solved by simply cleaning out the ear. It may be that you need to stop taking, or reduce intake of, certain drugs, such as aspirin or quinine. Although damaged inner hair cells cannot be replaced; it is usually possible to reduce the distress caused by tinnitus.