Tinnitus, or the persistent ringing or buzzing in the ear, is a common problem among hearing loss sufferers. In many cases, tinnitus can even be a more profound problem than hearing loss itself – mainly because of the psychological toll it can take on those who suffer from it. This ringing can range from an occasional annoyance to a persistent hindrance. Thankfully, tinnitus is treatable just like hearing loss.
Last time, we covered the experience of tinnitus
. But where does tinnitus come from? What causes it, and how can it be treated? Tinnitus is a complex condition that scientists and hearing experts are still trying to decode – but what we do know has a big effect on how it’s treated.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus either with or without hearing loss symptoms, this is what you should know about this condition.
Your brain perceives only about 30 percent of the sounds around you consciously. The rest are perceived unconsciously, which your brain will automatically filter out so that you can concentrate on the important external sounds. However, sometimes this system is damaged or hindered – and those sounds normally unconsciously perceived become excessively amplified.
In the case of tinnitus, this is often caused by hearing being intensely stimulated for a long time. Even after that original stimulating factor is gone, the perception persists. That’s why tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss. The damage that causes certain types of tinnitus also causes hearing loss.
However, tinnitus is often connected with high levels of stress rather than physiological damage. It’s likely that high stress and anxiety are in response to tinnitus as opposed to the cause, but those that experience it have a difficult time identifying which came first.
In some cases, certain medications can cause tinnitus and even permanent hearing loss. These medications are called ototoxic medications, and discontinuation of the medication can sometimes lead to a reversal of symptoms.
Each type of tinnitus has its own cause and treatment, though it’s important to work with a hearing specialist to understand treat each type correctly. More often than not, tinnitus is caused by a combination of factors and thus is treated in a few distinct yet collaborative ways.
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