The human ear performs the function of absorbing sounds while the human brain in conjunction with the ear processes the sounds and creates the right range and interpretation of these sounds. Sometimes a break in this link between the ear and the brain wherein there is alack of correct interpretation leads to ‘ringing in the ears ‘, a medical condition termed as tinnitus.
The sounds one hears over short spurts of time or sometimes for longer duration, may range from hissing, buzzing, ringing, to even roaring. These sounds have no external source there fore can only be heard by the person having this condition. Understanding how tinnitus is caused requires an intensive understanding of how the disconnect between the brain and the ear can bring about this condition. One will also have to look at some of the other external causes which leads to this condition that affects almost 15% of the population .
The Telltale Signs
It goes without saying that with the natural aging process most of the sense organs lose their sharpness and one of the primary organs the ear succumbs to hearing loss rather soon. It gets further aggravated and acute with the setting in of tinnitus. In fact, tinnitus is usually associated with hearing loss. Affecting sleep , concentration level and the overall quality of life, tinnitus can be quite disturbing in its frequency, lasting for longer spans of time if the problem intensifies . The humming or buzzing may occur at any time sometimes in the middle of the day or night or even surprisingly vanish for days together to return with a vengeance.
Tinnitus may be differentiated into two kinds-Pulsatile tinnitus where one hears ones own heartbeat and the contraction of muscles of the face and the neck. The non-Pulsatile variety is where one hears sounds that seem to be coming from inside the head blocking out other sounds completely. Somewhat disorienting, this condition may be a precursor to an oncoming ear infection or may be in conjunction with one . What ever may be the case, understanding what sets off this rather disturbing if not threatening medical condition may help one not only identify the problem better but also cause less of an alarm.
Causes of Tinnitus:
The causes of ear ringing, as it is usually termed, may be numerous. Severe tinnitus is recognized today as a major affliction considering how sound waves have become more dense and how little we understand of the effect of noise on our psychological and physiological well being. Here are some causes of tinnitus that should warn us about what to avoid and what to expect as natural:
*Aging or Prebycusis- A natural corollary to aging , in the case with most sense organs , aging brings about hearing loss which sometimes sets in along with tinnitus.
*Intense exposure to loud sounds, termed medically as acoustic trauma, usually causes temporary or permanent loss of hearing which may be symptomatic with tinnitus.
*Medication particularly antibiotics taken for a long period of time or over dosage of aspirin also has been linked to f tinnitus.
*The malfunction of the ear to an extent does remain susceptible to ear infections or build up of wax.
*Eardrum rupture or any infection affecting the ear from within that can only be determined through a thorough examination and may cause tinnitus.
*High blood pressure or fluctuations in it is also linked to ringing in the ears.
*Certain other medical ailments like Alzheimer’s disease and any injury to the ear, face or neck, may also unleash this problem . Dental problems that are directly linked to the nerves in the ear and the eye are also associated with causing tinnitus. Research has also proved that overactive thyroid and sudden and excessive loss of weight , or even over stressful exercise routine may cause tinnitus.
*Any excessive change in environmental pressure causing what is termed as barotrauma may also set in the condition. This occurs in high altitude where acclimatization is thus made necessary.
*Medical conditions such as labyrinthitis, ostosclerosis, Manieres disease and even anemia or high fever ,apart from hypertension and any other neurological disorder may also bring about tinnitus.
A look at what causes ringing in the ears would help quash many of our alarming doubts and fears about the condition. At the same time if the problem persists or if you have it in only one ear, do get a thorough medical examination to be completely sure of the extent of the problem.