Tinnitus is the perception of sound heard in the ears or from inside the head that is not from an outside source. Tinnitus is the Latin word for “ringing”.
If you have hearing loss, you may also experience tinnitus. Though this condition is not usually dangerous, it can be a symptom of an underlying condition. Tinnitus often causes fatigue, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, depression, anxiety and irritability. Though it is not necessarily serious, it can be debilitating.
What causes tinnitus?
The course of treatment will depend on what is causing the tinnitus, how severe it is, what impact it has on your daily life and whether or not hearing loss is also present.
Some common causes include:
- Stress and depression
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noise
- Earwax buildup or blockage
- Abnormal bone growth in the ear
- Meniere's disease
- Head or neck injuries
- Benign tumor on the 8th cranial nerve
- Use of certain medications
What treatments are available?
Depending on the cause of the tinnitus and other factors, several treatments are available, including medical options as well as alternative therapies.
A common treatment is sound therapy. Sound therapy shifts the brain to a different sound that you control and in turn diminishes the emotional impact of the tinnitus by giving the patient control.