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Two forms of Tinnitus

There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. With subjective tinnitus (the most common form), you are the only one that can hear the sounds. This symptom is caused by problems affecting the structure of your ear, the hearing nerves, or the portion of your brain that interprets different sounds. With objective tinnitus, your doctor can also hear the sounds during an examination. This is a rare form of the condition that is caused by a problem with your blood vessels, muscles or middle ear bones.

What causes tinnitus?

A number of conditions can cause tinnitus to develop. The most common ones include:

  • Natural hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss that occurs naturally at around age 60 is a leading cause of tinnitus.
  • Loud noises. Prolonged exposure to loud noises can lead to hearing loss and permanent damage, which ultimately causes tinnitus.
  • Earwax blockage. A severe earwax blockage can irritate the eardrum and cause hearing loss, resulting in tinnitus.
  • Problems with the ear bones. Tinnitus sometimes develops in response to a stiffening of the bones located in the middle ear.

In addition, head and neck injuries, blood vessel disorders and some medications are also known to cause tinnitus.

How is Tinnitus diagnosed?

To diagnose the underlying cause of your tinnitus, your ear, nose and throat physician will begin by performing a hearing exam. In a soundproof room, you will listen to a series of sounds through headphones to determine the quality of your hearing for your age. From there, imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI may be ordered to further aid in your diagnosis.

Our Tinnitus treatment options

Your treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. For example, your doctor may remove impacted ear wax, treat a blood vessel condition or change your medications to improve your symptoms. If your tinnitus can’t be eliminated, you can take steps to make it less intrusive. White noise machines, hearing aids and other devices can mask your tinnitus and help you hear more clearly.

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Tinnitus can adversely affect your quality of life, resulting in fatigue, stress, trouble concentrating and more. For help identifying and treating the underlying cause, contact SFENTA today.

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