Do you or anyone you know experience a ringing in your ears which no one but you can hear? If you do, then do not be worried. You have tinnitus which is an audiological and neurological condition that is experienced by almost 50 million Americans.

This article would serve as a guide to keep you educated on all you need to know about tinnitus and the sounds associated with it.

What is Tinnitus?

This is the situation whereby you experience noises or sound when there is no actual external noise present around. Although, it is commonly known or referred to as a ringing in the ears.

Tinnitus can also take various forms of sounds which include hissing, buzzing, whistling, clicking and whooshing.

Tinnitus can also be referred to as noises in the head that are not related to any physical condition. The noise can be heard anywhere in the individual’s head or both ears. There has been no proven scientific cure for tinnitus so far. Tinnitus is usually caused by a problem in the hearing system; it is a symptom, not an actual disease itself.

In other rare cases, people suffering from tinnitus have been reported to hear music. Tinnitus can be an acute temporary condition or a chronic or continuous health issue. Millions of Americans suffer from tinnitus which makes it one of the most recognized health issues in the country.

It was estimated by the US centres for disease control that nearly 15 percent of the general public suffer from some form of tinnitus. About 20million people experience the chronic tinnitus while 2 million people suffer from the extreme cases of tinnitus.

Types of Tinnitus

There are basically two types of tinnitus which include;

  • Subjective Tinnitus; this are ear or head noises that can be heard only by a specific individual. The subjective tinnitus can be traced to neurogical or auditory reactions or effects of hearing loss. Although, it can also be caused by a variety of other catalysts. Subjective tinnitus cases reported take up more than 99 percent of tinnitus cases.
  • Objective Tinnitus; these are ear of head noises that can be heard by other people as well as the patient experiencing it. The sounds are usually created by the internal functions in the blood flow and skeletal movement system. This type of tinnitus is quite rare and is usually caused by various physical effects which include spasm of the tiny muscles in the inner ear, anomalies in the blood vessels around the ears and elevated blood flow to the ear.
types of tinitus

What Causes Tinnitus?

Whatever the reason for tinnitus, it brings about a change in the transmission of the signal that is passed from the inner ear to the portion of the brain where sound is processed, recognized as the auditory cortex.

This means that some parts of the nerve cells do not get sounds like they usually do. This causes a reaction in some people producing the illusion of sound. Overtime, this illusion becomes stronger and the tinnitus can become a continuous sound.

The following are some of the factors that aid in the development of tinnitus. They include;

  • Hearing loss; tinnitus usually occurs with hearing loss although some people with tinnitus don’t have issues with hearing
  • Loud noises; noise is one of the major cause of hearing loss. Extremely loud noises may damage your ears permanently which leads to hearing loss and in turn tinnitus.
  • Head or ear injury; some people who suffer from tinnitus do so as a result of issues that arise from a head or neck injury.
  • Infection; infection of the middle ear which could cause swelling and build-up of fluid behind the eardrums could result in tinnitus.
  • Ear diseases; conditions in the ear which leads to hearing loss are common causes of tinnitus.
  • Side effect of medication; certain medications especially in large doses can lead to tinnitus.
  • Emotional stress; there is possibility of you experiencing tinnitus if you experience a high level of stress.

Other Causes of Tinnitus

Some other causes of tinnitus include the following;

  • Foreign object getting in contact with the eardrum
  • Intense Earwax build-up
  • TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) disorders
  • When there is stiffness of the middle ear bones
  • Diabetes

Symptoms of Tinnitus and what Tinnitus Sounds Like

Tinnitus is an internal sound which is non-auditory and can also be occasional or continuous, in one ear or both. It could be either a high pitched or low pitch squeal. The different sounds of tinnitus have been reported as whistling, clicking, buzzing, whooshing, roaring and sometimes a musical sound.

symptoms of tinnitus ear

The volume of the sound isn’t consistent and may vary. It is mostly heard when the environment is quiet or at night. Tinnitus also comes alongside a degree of hearing loss.

Effects of Tinnitus

Although, most people who suffer from Tinnitus are not really bothered by it, most of them do not look for medical attention in curing tinnitus and alot of people who go to doctors only do so to ensure that the tinnitus isn’t going to bring along with it other forms of serious illness.

There are a lot of other patients who are genuinely bothered by tinnitus and many of them claim it is annoying, upsetting and most times distracting. It also prevents some patients from going through their usual daily activities

Tinnitus can affect the quality of life greatly. Although people are affected differently, some of the other factors that might be experienced alongside tinnitus include the following;

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Issues with concentration
  • Memory issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and irritability among others.

Sample Sounds of Tinnitus - What does Tinnitus Sound Like?

These are examples of sample sounds that best describes what individual suffering from tinnitus hear continuously in their heads. The volume of the sound can vary among patients. Ensure the volume of your speakers is at comfortable levels before you listen as most of these sounds are highly irritating.

1.  4000 Hz Tone

2.  7500 Hz Tone

3.  Tea Kettle

4.  Buzzing or Cicada

5.  Static

6.  Screeching

7.  Electric

8.  Roaring

Treatment for Tinnitus

Treating the cause of tinnitus is the first step in sorting the issue, such as care of ear infection promptly, stopping toxic medications and treating TMJ issues. For most people suffering from Tinnitus, there is no cure and most people learn to live with it by tuning out the sounds. Trying to ignore tinnitus instead of focusing on it can help bring about relief.

If that fails to work, treatment of the conditions that make living with tinnitus difficult like insomnia, anxiety, hearing loss and depression should be addressed. This would improve the quality of the patient’s life greatly.

Other steps that can be taken to manage Tinnitus effectively include;

  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy or Tinnitus Feedback Retraining
  • Sound Therapy
  • Healthy Lifestyle

These workaround for the treatment of tinnitus are certain to make it at least coping with the sounds of Tinnitus even though there is no available cure in sight.

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