Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears. While it's not known exactly what causes tinnitus, it is often attributed to exposure to loud noises over long periods of time or even from grinding of the teeth.
Experts have identified four types of tinnitus:
- Objective tinnitus. This type can be difficult to identify (usually done so by a doctor using a stethoscope). This rare form of the disorder is usually treated by special surgery.
- Subjective tinnitus. This makes up more than ninety percent of all cases of the disease. It can appear quite suddenly and last a year or more. It's often coupled with hearing loss.
- Somatic tinnitus. Commonly only affects one ear and is related to other sensory problems in the body.
- Neurological tinnitus. Caused by neurological disorders. There is no cure for this type, but certain medicines can help to alleviate the problems.
- Oxotoxic tinnitus. Comes about as a result of medications which damage hearing. Fortunately, depending on the medication taken, the problem can be reversed. Some medications, though, can make the condition permanent.
About half of all people with tinnitus also have hearing loss to some degree or another. Testing by a hearing specialist can determine the level of the tinnitus and also the severity of the loss of hearing.
So, how can tinnitus be treated or cured? Depending on the type and how severe the problem is, there are a variety of treatments. Problems with the jaw can cause a ringing in the ear; this can be corrected by wearing a mouthpiece. Surgery may be necessary for some people.
The constant annoying sounds and ringing can lead to anxiety and even depression among some sufferers. Hearing correction with devices such as Siemens hearing aids or models made by other manufacturers can help to mask the ringing and emphasize outside sounds. Even people without hearing loss can use this style of hearing aids to greatly reduce the effects of tinnitus.
Tinnitus can also be indicative of other illnesses such as Menieres disease, which can include vertigo and dizziness in addition to the ringing. While there is no cure for the condition, medications can help manage the symptoms. Again, hearing aids can be helpful with alleviating some of the symptoms.
Though tinnitus can range from little more than an annoyance to a severely debilitating disease in more extreme cases, those afflicted with it shouldnt be without hope. An examination by a physician as well as a hearing test by a licensed profession can help determine a course of treatment. From there, several things can help, from pharmaceuticals to the use of assistive hearing devices.