What is Tinnitus? Our sense organs, that is, tongue, ears, eyes skin and nose are tremendously precious in providing us with a detailed image of the world surrounding us. For instance, imagine you are holding an apple. You can touch it and feel how it is shaped; you can use your eyes to see it and decipher its color. When you take a bite, you can hear the crunch and derive pleasure from its sweet taste using your tongue as well as smell it.
Our sense organs transmit all this data to the brain; it then provides us with a wholesome experience of relishing the apple. All these sensory organs are valuable to our day-to-day existence, and our strong brain is the core of all of it. The brain integrates all this sensory data enabling us to experience the world entirely.
What happens when a sense organ is damaged?
If one of the sense organs suffers damage, we cannot enjoy the world around us thoroughly. The reason is that our brain would now miss the vital data from this sense organ. Damage to our ears has two repercussions:
- Firstly, the brain will lack the data from the ears, known as hearing loss.
- Secondly, the brain attempts to fill the space formed by this loss of hearing. Due to this, a person experiencing hearing loss may begin hearing a noise which cannot be heard by others. This noise is known as tinnitus.
Hearing Loss Due To Tinnitus
Our hearing is precious for obtaining information about our surrounding and for having effective communication with the people near us. We can hear the voices of our loved ones or music, giving us a sense of happiness and providing positive emotions. The hearing is essential as well since it shields us from danger. For example, if a child is approached from behind by a car, the sound of the car will make the child move away from its path. The noise is transmitted via the ear’s exterior, known as the pinna, to the ear canal. The two regions are referred to as the outer ear. Then the eardrum is vibrated by noise, making the ossicles (a group of three small bones in the center ear) in motion.
The ossicles’ motion forms waves in the snail-shaped cochlea’s fluid. The cochlea is situated deep inside in a place known as the inner ear. The cochlea is where the energy of the sound is changed to electrical impulses by many small hair cells. The auditory nerve sends this information to the brain. Here, the specifics of the noise, like its pitch, characteristics, direction, and loudness are then understood, enabling the child to distinguish the noise of the car’s engine as it approaches from behind.
This is a fast process that occurs in lower than one second. The hearing process speed enables the child to react fast. Our hearing system, particularly the inner ear’s hair cells is extremely sensitive and can be damaged by loud sounds easily. The damage to these hair follicles cannot be reversed.
Examples of loud sounds are traffic noise, construction work, and airplane engine noise. Some enjoyable sounds like loud music, TV at a high volume, mp3 players, I-Pods or other music tools. It is crucial to shield our ears from these loud sounds since they can damage our hearing permanently.
A person suffering from tinnitus usually hears ‘buzzing in the ears.’ However, they might also hear clicking, whistling or hissing sounds. It can be persistent, short-term or chronic.
There is a belief that tinnitus affects 50 million Americans. It typically happens below 50 years of age; however, adolescents and children can also experience it.
Details of what happens when you have Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a whistling, ringing or other noise in the ears. Tinnitus occurs when we become aware of a sound which does not originate from any cause outside the body. Tinnitus is not an illness, but a sign of an underlying issue. Mainly, the noise is subjective; it means that just the person who experiences tinnitus can hear it.
The most prevalent kind is a continuous, high-pitched ringing. It can be irritating but, usually, it is not a sign of a severe condition. In less than 1% of cases, it might be objective. It signifies that other individuals can hear the sound. Musculoskeletal or cardiovascular motions in the person’s body might trigger this kind of sound. It can be an indication of a medical crisis.
Symptoms Of Tinnitus
Tinnitus presents an internal, non-auditory noise. This noise can be sporadic or continuous in one ear or both. It can be high or low-pitched. The different sounds have been illustrated as chirping, clicking, whistling, hissing, screeching, roaring, static, pulsing, musical, buzzing or whooshing. The sound’s volume can fluctuate. It is mainly notable at night or when it is quiet. Hearing loss can occur.
Treatment for Tinnitus
The initial step is to treat any underlying tinnitus cause that might involve:
- Treating an ear infection fast.
- Stopping any ototoxic medicine.
- Treating any TMI (temporomandibular) problems that affect the joint between the check bone and the jaw bone.
Most tinnitus cases lack a cure. A lot of individuals become used to it and learn to ignore it. Tuning it out instead of dwelling on it can offer relief. If this is ineffective, the person can get a respite from the treatment of impacts of tinnitus like anxiety, insomnia, social isolation, depression and hearing difficulties. Handling these problems can enhance an individual’s quality of life considerably.
Home Solutions For Tinnitus
There are some steps a person can take to control tinnitus and its impacts.
TRT (Tinnitus retraining therapy) is when the auditory system is retrained to receive the unusual noises of tinnitus as natural instead of disturbing. It involves assistance from a trained expert and wearing a tool which transmits white noise with low-level. Continuous counseling sessions can assist people to deal with tinnitus.
The success of this therapy depends on how severe the tinnitus is and the general mental health of the person. Follow-up research indicates that TRT offers relief for about 80% of individuals with tinnitus. CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) can assist to provide depression relief in individuals with tinnitus, even though it does not seem to decrease the noise.