Definition: Defining the Meaning of Tinnitus
Tinnitus (TIN-ih-tus) from the Latin word tinnītus meaning "ringing" is the perception of sound within the human ear ("ringing of the ears") when no external sound is present. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn't a condition itself, it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.
Tinnitus comes from the Latin word tinnire, meaning "to ring." Tinnitus can be perceived in one or both ears or in the head. It is usually described as a ringing noise, but in some people it takes the form of a high pitched whining, buzzing, hissing, humming, or whistling sound, or as ticking, clicking, roaring, "crickets" or "tree frogs" or "locusts", tunes, songs, or beeping.
Nearly 36 million Americans have tinnitus to a distressing degree.
Tinnitus is not itself a disease but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes. Causes include ear infections, foreign objects or wax in the ear, nose allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain and cause wax build-up, and injury from loud noises.
Tinnitus is also a side effect of some oral medications, such as aspirin, and may also result from an abnormally low level of serotonin activity. In many cases, however, no underlying physical cause can be identified.
Tinnitus may also be the result of age-related hearing loss or ear injury, or it may be an indication of a disease of your circulatory system.
Tinnitus and hearing loss can be permanent conditions, thus, precautionary measures are advisable. If a ringing in the ears is audible after exposure to a loud environment, such as a rock concert or a work place, it means that damage has been done. Prolonged exposure to noise levels as low as 70 dB can result in damage to hearing.
If you have Tinnitus, or ringing of the ears, then you certainly want relief and you want it fast. The treatment options for Tinnitus vary significantly depending upon the cause of your problem.
Some cases of Tinnitus may be treated successfully while others result in a disability the patient must learn to live with. The most important aspect of treating Tinnitus is determining that the ringing in the ears is not related to a treatable illness but rather resulting due to damage to the ear.
Treatment options that are prescribed for individuals who cannot deal with the constant ringing in their ears include the following.
- Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are frequently used to treat Tinnitus.
- Maskers that make white noise, which in turn masks the ringing, have also been used successfully.
- If you are only bothered by your Tinnitus at night then a fan might be enough to distract you from the noise. You may also play your favorite CD or radio station at a low volume for the same effect.
Some Tinnitus sufferers have found relief from relaxation techniques as well.
Biofeedback is yet another treatment method that offers some sufferers relief. The reason these relaxation techniques work well for Tinnitus sufferers is that stress often makes the ailment worse. So, those who suffer from Tinnitus should focus on staying relaxed and stress free to keep their symptoms under control.
Tinnitus sufferers should also keep in mind that caffeine may make their symptoms worse. This means switching out caffeinated colas, teas, and coffees for the decaffeinated versions. Things like chocolate and even some cold medicines have caffeine in them as well and should be limited to keep Tinnitus symptoms under control. Nicotine should be avoided as well, which includes cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.
One of the most important things you can do if you suffer from Tinnitus is to protect your hearing at all costs. The reason why is that as you lose your hearing your Tinnitus symptoms will worsen. So, if you work in a loud environment, shoot guns, or are exposed to any other loud activity make sure you wear proper hearing protection.
Avoid salt, maintain a good blood pressure, get plenty of sleep, and don't allow yourself to become anxious. The more anxious you become over your Tinnitus the more difficult it will be to live with. Exercising on a regular basis and avoiding aspirin products are also recommended for Tinnitus sufferers.
Tinnitus Control, a FDA approved Homeopathic spray is said to offer instant relief from the constant ringing in the ears of the Tinnitus Sufferers. Use of Tinnitus Control three times a day reduces the ringing sound in the ears considerably. Two sprays of the dose under the tongue constitute one dosage. Some of the ingredients of the homeopathic spray includes Arnica 30x, Chininum Sulphuricum, Kali Phosphoricum, Natrum Sulphuricum, Pulsatilla, Silicea and Thiosinaminum.
Many Tinnitus sufferers have said the best treatment is no treatment at all.
They claim that simply ignoring the ringing in the ears is enough to allow it to fade away. Not focusing on it allows sufferers of Tinnitus to move on and enjoy their lives without constantly focusing on the ringing in their ears.
Most people will find their Tinnitus is not curable, although it may be treatable with one or more of the above suggestions. A very small percentage of people will actually have a medical problem that causes the Tinnitus like a tumor. However, most people with Tinnitus simply learn to live with it and find a treatment option that helps them deal with the ringing in their ears. Although the noise of tinnitus may be annoying, the condition rarely is a warning of a serious problem.
Tinnitus & Hearing Impairment Awareness
The Gold and Silver awareness ribbon represents hearing impairments including Tinnitus and Meniere Disease.
International Noise Awareness Day - April 29, 2015.
Canada - May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month.
USA - October Is National Audiology Awareness Month. AAA is dedicated to increasing public awareness of audiology and the importance of hearing protection.
UK - September is Hearing Awareness Month
Quick Facts: Tinnitus in Children
Tinnitus is commonly thought of as a symptom of adulthood; this may be why tinnitus in children is generally overlooked. Children with hearing loss have a high incidence of tinnitus, even though they do not express that they have tinnitus and the effect it has on their lives. Children do not generally report tinnitus spontaneously and their complaints may not be taken seriously. Among those children who do complain of tinnitus, there is an increased likelihood of associated otological or neurological pathology such as migraine, juvenile Meniere's disease or chronic suppurative otitis media. Its reported prevalence varies from 12% to 36% in children with normal hearing thresholds and up to 66% in children with a hearing loss and approximately 3-10% of children have been reported to be troubled by tinnitus.
Statistics: U.S. Tinnitus
- 90% of tinnitus cases occur with hearing loss.
- Tinnitus is sometimes the first sign of hearing loss.
- The incidence of tinnitus is as high as 26.7% for people ages 65-84 years.
- 25 million to 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus to some degree.
- Subjects with tinnitus report their tinnitus primarily impacts their ability to hear (39%), concentrate (26%), and sleep (20%).
- 60% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan come home with hearing loss and tinnitus; it is the number 1 war wound.
- Impairment of auditory activity and tinnitus are more likely to occur in Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans than post-traumatic stress syndrome.
- Tinnitus affects one third of adults at some time in their lives, whereas ten to fifteen percent are disturbed enough to seek medical evaluation.
- Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.
- Approximately 16 million people seek medical attention for their tinnitus, and for up to two million patients, debilitating tinnitus interferes with their daily lives.