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Do You Hear What I Hear

Just imagine you hear a buzzing, whistling, whooshing, or ringing noise in your head.  Now imagine the sound occurs fairly frequently and you have no idea why.  Sadly, that is what people with tinnitus commonly experience.

What is tinnitus?

It’s a condition that produces phantom-like noises in one or both ears: however, no outside factor is responsible for generating the sound.  It is estimated that over 45 million Americans have some form of the malady.  The majority of people experience subjective tinnitus (a.k.a., non-vibratory tinnitus), meaning the sufferer is the only one hearing the noise.  Fewer people, actually, less than 1%, experience objective tinnitus (a.k.a., vibratory tinnitus), a type that can also be audible to others, although this tends to occur only when a physician or other medical practitioner is listening with a stethoscope.  Some cases of tinnitus are relatively mild, while others are considerably more severe.

How do you get tinnitus?

Tinnitus is believed to be secondary to a disease, illness, or ailment: it is not a standalone disorder.  The underlying cause can range from factors like neurological pathologies, autoimmune ailments, metabolic abnormalities, TMJ, bacterial infections, head or neck injuries, psychological conditions, sinus pressure, medication use, loud noise exposure, inner ear malfunctioning/deformity, hearing issues, or circulatory problems.  All ages can get the vexing challenge, yet a sizable number of people are middle age or older.

Why older?

This is due to the fact that hearing can decline with age, resulting in the audible diminishing of certain sounds.  On the other hand, noise-stimulated tinnitus can occur at any age.

Is there a cure?

Regrettably, the prevailing belief is not at this time.  Even so, treatments like sound therapy, zinc supplements, and hearing aids may better manage the situation.  Still, when the primary condition causing tinnitus is addressed (e.g., TMJ correction, removal of excess ear wax or loose hairs, sinus pressure relief), the problem normally subsides.  Therefore, it is always best to talk to your doctor if recurrent noises are troubling you.  Your practitioner may even refer you to an audiologist or ears, nose and throat expert (ENT) for specialized testing.

Okay, so now your head spinning?  Well, if you’d like additional details regarding this topic, go to https://www.ata.org/

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