Tinnitus is the medical term for “hearing” noises in the ears when there are no external sounds. The sounds you hear may be soft or loud and may sound like whistling, blowing, roaring, buzzing, wheezing, whispering or chirping. One may even think you are listening to the air escape, running water, the inside of a marine snail , or musical notes.
Considerations Tinnitus is common. Almost every person experiences a mild form of tinnitus from time to time, which lasts only a few minutes. However, constant or recurrent tinnitus is stressful and can make it difficult to concentrate or sleep.
Causes It is not known with certainty what makes a person “hear” sounds, when there is no external sound source. However, tinnitus can be a symptom of almost any auditory problem, such as: • Ear infections • Foreign bodies or cerumen in the ear • Hearing loss due to loud noises • Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that involves hearing loss and vertigo • The consumption of alcohol, caffeine, antibiotics, acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) and other drugs can also cause noises in the ears • Tinnitus can present with hearing loss.Sometimes, it is a sign of high blood pressure, an allergy or anemia. Rarely, tinnitus is a sign of a serious problem, such as a tumor or an aneurysm.Home careTinnitus can be masked with other sounds: Music at low volume, ticking of clocks, or other noises, can help you not notice tinnitus. Tinnitus is often noticed more when going to bed at night , since the surroundings are quieter. Any sound in the room, such as a humidifier, a machine that produces uniform noises, or a fan, can help to mask the tinnitus and make it less irritating. • Learn some ways to relax. Stress does not cause tinnitus, but feeling stressed or anxious can make it worse • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco • Get plenty of rest • Try to sleep with your head up in an elevated position • This decreases congestion in the head and noise may become less noticeable • Protect your ears and hearing from further damage.• Avoid loud places and sounds • Use earplugs if you need them.Check with the doctor or nurse if: • Noises in the ears begin after a head injury • Noises present with other unexplained symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, or vomiting. • Unexplained auditory noise is present that is annoying to you even after applying the self-help measures • Noise is only in one ear and continues for several weeks or more. The following tests can be done: • Audiology / audiometry to assess hearing loss • CT scan of the head • MRI of the head • Vascular studies (angiography). Check with your doctor all your current medications, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements.