All that loud ringing in ears can be so annoying and even debilitating at worst, leading to tinnitus side effects such as severe depression and even contemplating suicide because the sufferers cannot function due to the highly distressing sounds. When looking into the causes of tinnitus, it is important to also look at the types.
Tinnitus produces many other sounds besides ringing such as clicking, whistling, roaring, whooshing, etc. Tinnitus is not really considered a disease but rather a symptom of an underlying condition in the body.
It affects men and women of any age although more men seem to be susceptible. While the causes of tinnitus or more importantly what sets the trigger off remain unknown, there are many factors that can lead to this condition such as hearing loss, loud noises, certain medications, etc. While tinnitus can affect sufferers differently, there are two types.
1. Subjective Tinnitus
This is the most common type of tinnitus and represents sounds that only the sufferer can hear.
While it remains a mystery about what causes this type of tinnitus, it is believed that it results from an issue in the structural foundation of the inner ear (cochlea, auditory nerve, etc.)
The problem in the inner ear can result from hearing loss either due to age or damage from listening to loud noises. Most people with tinnitus usually have some form of hearing loss resulting from loud noises which damage the hair cells in the inner ear causing permanent hearing loss that can lead to tinnitus.
Impacted earwax and ear infection may also cause hearing loss although this may be temporary as well as the tinnitus that may develop since impacted earwax can be removed and ear infection can be treated.
Other factors that can cause subjective tinnitus include medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc; TMJ disorders, head and neck injuries, stress, tumors on the nerve fibers of the brain, etc.
2. Objective Tinnitus (Pulsatile Tinnitus)
Unlike subjective tinnitus that only the sufferer can hear, pulsatile tinnitus relates to noises that can be heard by another person besides the sufferer such as a doctor.
This is a rare form of tinnitus that affects about 4 percent of tinnitus sufferers.
Pulsatile tinnitus symptoms include hearing your own heartbeat which can drive you nuts. The doctor will usually be able to hear these sounds using a stethoscope placed on your neck or head. The sounds produced with this type usually originate from within your body.
Pulsatile tinnitus causes
- Blood vessel problems resulting from turbulent blood flow.
- High blood pressure is another of pulsatile tinnitus causes. Other factors that can impact your blood pressure such as stress, caffeine, alcohol, etc, can also lead to this type of tinnitus.
- A malfunction of the capillaries (small blood vessels) can lead to this pulse that you may hear.
- Cholesterol and/or fatty deposits buildup can cause a loss of elasticity of the major blood vessels which will then interfere with the ability of the vessels of expanding or flexing with each heartbeat. Cholesterol and fatty acids buildup can narrow the blood vessel opening which would then require the blood flow to be more forceful and your heart will work harder which may result in you being able to hear each heartbeat.
- Muscle spasms.
- Vibrations of the hair cells in the inner ear that are spontaneous is also another cause, and so on and so forth.
Pulsatile tinnitus treatment
In order for pulsatile tinnitus treatment to be effective, you need to ensure that your doctor gets an accurate diagnosis. This means that you need to be very descriptive about what noises you hear, when they occur, how often, etc.
With pulsatile tinnitus, sometimes changing the position of your head can usually result in the noises going away especially if the noises only affect one ear.
For other factors that may be causing this type of tinnitus, you may need to address the underlying cause. Treating the vascular issues or disorders may reduce or eliminate pulsatile tinnitus. Stress management, cholesterol management and various other lifestyle changes may also get rid of pulsatile tinnitus.
Subjective tinnitus is more common than pulsating tinnitus and is also more difficult to treat since finding the source is near impossible when compared to objective tinnitus. While conventional treatment methods may not provide effective treatments for the common type, more and more sufferers are turning to holistic methods and finding a permanent solution from this affliction.
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