What Is Tinnitus?
For those who have visited Madison Square Garden in the New York City to hear Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 in C minor on a New Year’s Eve, the music must have remained with them for a few brief minutes even after it had stopped playing in the vast arena. Well, this is quite normal. Beethoven’s composition lingers long in the ears after the music has actually stopped. But if that continues till the next morning and persists thereafter that calls for a medical check up which will invariably diagnose it as a case of Tinnitus. And there is nothing outstanding or exceptional about it since millions of Americans suffer from Tinnitus and they keep suffering since no cure for tinnitus has yet been found.
Even though the word has been derived from the Latin expression tinnitus, which means‘ringing’, the sound heard by the affected person vary a lot. It may range from hissing, whooshing, ticking, clicking to humming, droning, whining and buzzing. In short, it is enough to drive a person crazy, looking for relief from pillar to post.
What is Tinnitus and what are its various types?
Clinically speaking, tinnitus represents any ringing or buzzing in the ear not resulting from an external stimulus. However, there are several forms of tinnitus, each one of them capable of thoroughly disrupting the life of the patient. There is subjective tinnitus where the ringing or the wheezing is heard by the patient alone and objective tinnitus in which the doctor can also hear the noise by using acoustic instruments. Some of these are unilateral (can be heard in one ear) or bilateral where it is heard in both the ears. Persons suffering from Pulsatile Tinnitus can hear their own heartbeats while Somatic Tinnitus resonances lie outside the ear, probably beyond the cochlear nerves and is believed to arise from central crosstalk within the grey matters. Chronic Sinusitis Tinnitus could be a nasty customer, being caused by thickened mucus trapped within the middle ear space from which it is difficult to drain the mucus out.
Here are some of the underlying causes of tinnitus…
- Atherosclerotic Carotid Artery Disease in which the arteries become narrowed due to heavy cholesterol buildup that result in uneven blood flow to the head and neck area. This gives rise to agonizing heartbeat sounds that can be heard in the ears of the tinnitus patient. Mostly associated with elderly patients having history of diabetes, hypertension, angina pectoris as well as persistent high blood pressure.
- Benign Intracranial hypertension may also cause Tinnitus (Pulsatile?). This is exemplified by heightened pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid that covers the brain. Usual victims are young obese females.
- Damaged nerve, particularly the nerve that runs between the brain and the ear.
- Glomus tumor that consists of bunches of tissues and entangled blood vessels in the ear or the immediate surrounding area can become a cause of tinnitus. Young people often opt for surgical help while surgery is not recommended for the elderly as these tumors are extremely slow in growth.
- Intracranial vascular lesion often causes tinnitus of aneurism and arteri-venous malformation or deformity that is usually typified by abnormal or irregular connection between the artery and the vein. This often results in arterial blood entering straight into the vein without going through the capillaries. The situation, as may be appreciated is rather grave, not only resulting in Tinnitus but also turning towards hemorrhage in the brain causing fatal consequences.
- Middle ear effusiongenerally causes Pulsatile Tinnitus in middle aged patients. Accumulation of excess fluid in the middle ear due to inflammation in the Eustachian tubes causing blockage of the escape route and infection in the middle ear and further collection f fluid there gives rise unusual noise in the ear resembling pulse beats.
- Meniere’s Disease is one of the commonest causes of tinnitus. It is related to a host of inner ear disorders, believed to be triggered by nonconforming inner ear fluid pressure.
- In many cases, when so specific cause for tinnitus can be found after hearing tests are carried out, the blame can be put on depression and stress.
- Acoustic Neuroma that consists of a benign tumor is often found responsible for causing this disorder. It usually occurs on the cranial nerve that runs from the brain to the inner ear and interferes with controlling of balance, giving rise to vertigo and related complications. Also known as Vestibular Schwannoma, it affects only one ear in most cases.
- Incessant exposure to earsplitting noise is considered as the commonest cause for tinnitus.
Now that tinnitus have become a fully open book for anyone to take lesson from, it is time to see how best to cure it. Unfortunately that database is lying absolutely blank as no known conventional method of addressing the underlying causes of the disease condition has yet been found out. What actually happens is that, conventional treatments just treat the symptoms, without really finding out the root causes and thus, the symptoms often come back, as soon as the effect of the treatment wanes. The only way tinnitus can be tamed permanently is through a holistic regime that may involve total change of lifestyle and many others. Ask any sufferer, he/she will instantly agree to do so in exchange for a lifetime relief.