Strange sounds in my ear – Tinnitus

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Tinnitus is the sensation or perception of noise in your ears. It is an internal sound you hear intermittently or continuously. Certainly, this sound does not come from any source outside the body.

You mostly hear the sound at night or at quiet moments. The pitch of the sound varies, it could be low or high, you may hear it on one ear or on both ears.

Tinnitus is not in itself a disease condition, but a symptom of an underlying condition such as;
• Ear injury
• Hearing loss
• Circulatory system disorder

The severity of the tinnitus can lead to the following:
• Insomnia
• Poor performance
• Lack of concentration
• Irritability

Symptoms of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is characterized by the perception of sound when there is no external sound. The sound may include the following types of noises in your ears:
• Clicking
• Humming
• Ringing; low pitched or high pitched ringing
• Hissing
• Roaring

Types of Tinnitus

The most common type of tinnitus is subjective tinnitus. This is the sound that is heard only by you. It can be caused by ear problems and/ or problems of the auditory nerves.

Objective tinnitus: This is the sound that can be heard by another person under careful observation in a quiet time. It is less common when compared to the subjective type.

What causes Tinnitus?

In many instances, tinnitus is caused by any of the following:
• Hearing loss
• Exposure to loud noise
• Accumulation of earwax
• Stiffening of the ear bones

There are also medications are known to cause or worsen tinnitus.

Those medications include;

Antibiotics such as neomycin, vancomycin, polymyxin B

Quinine medications

Cancer medications such as cisplatin and methotrexate

Aspirin when taken in higher doses

Diuretics such as Furosemide and Butenamide

Some antidepressants

See your doctor immediately if;

Tinnitus occurs suddenly or without any cause.
Tinnitus is accompanied by dizziness, or hearing loss.

Treatment of Tinnitus

There is no cure for tinnitus, however, it can improve with:
Treatment of the identified underlying cause;
• Removal of impacted earwax
• Treating the underlying blood vessels condition
• Changing your medication, if it appears to be the cause.

Noise suppressing devices such as; white noise devices, hearing aids, masking devices.

Medication: Drugs can’t cure tinnitus, they may only help reduce the severity of the symptoms, making it less noticeable. The medications may include:
• Alprazolam (Xanax): This drug has side effects which include drowsiness and nausea.
• Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and amitriptyline: some success has been recorded with their usage. However, these medications are generally used for only severe tinnitus. Their side effects include; dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation and heart problems.

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