What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present. Commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears,” Tinnitus can manifest many different perceptions of sound, including: buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing, and clicking. In some rare cases, tinnitus patients report hearing music. Tinnitus can be both an acute (temporary) condition or a chronic (ongoing) health malady.
Types of Tinnitus
Millions of Americans experience Tinnitus, making it one of the most common health conditions in the country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 15% of the general public experience some form of Tinnitus.
Subjective Tinnitus: Head or ear noises that are perceivable only to the specific patient. Subjective tinnitus is usually traceable to auditory and neurological reactions to hearing loss, but can also be caused by an array of other catalysts. More than 99% of all tinnitus reported tinnitus cases are of the subjective variety.
Objective Tinnitus: Head or ear noises that are audible to other people, as well as the patient. These sounds are usually produced by internal functions in the body’s circulatory (blood flow) and somatic (musculo-skeletal movement) systems. Objective tinnitus is very rare, representing less than 1% of total tinnitus cases.
What Can I Do About Tinnitus?
There is currently no scientifically-validated cure for most types of Tinnitus. There are, however, treatment options that can ease the perceived burden of tinnitus, allowing patients to live more comfortable, productive lives. ATA is leading the charge in the ongoing search for a definitive tinnitus cure. If there is a hearing loss in the frequency of the tinnitus, hearing aids can allow a person to once again hear the ambient sounds that naturally cover the tinnitus, providing partial or complete relief.
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