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How to Recognize the First Signs of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a constant ringing in your ears that only you can hear. Tinnitus affects about 15-20% of the population and the constant ringing comes from within the ear and not outside the ear. There are ways to manage your tinnitus, and the earlier it is caught the better for you and your audiologist. Here are the early warning signs of tinnitus and what to look out for if you think you may be at risk.
What Kind of Tinnitus Do You Have?
There are two different types of tinnitus. There is subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is a ringing or thumping in your ears that only you can hear. This is the most common form of the condition. This affects mostly those who have spent their lives or careers around loud noises. For example, musicians, bartenders, or people who are members of the military.
The second type, objective tinnitus, can be heard by your doctor. This is a noise within the ear that is caused by damage to the middle ear bone, muscular problems in the ear, or problems with circulation to the ear. Once you know what kind of tinnitus you are experiencing then you can start working with your audiologist to get better.
Are You Experiencing Ringing in Your Ears?
If you are hearing a ringing in one or both of your ears, you may have tinnitus. The ringing comes and is recognized when you are in a completely quiet setting. The ringing can also present itself as a buzzing noise. Ensure that there aren’t any machines or any devices around that could be making the noise. And also ensure that you are the only one who can hear it. If you check off these two boxes then you may be experiencing tinnitus.
Monitor the ringing because if it goes away after a few hours, it could be a reaction to medication or simple aging. If the ringing and buzzing persist, see an audiologist.
Do You Hear a Loud Thumping in Your Head?
Thumping is another symptom of tinnitus. When you hear the thumping or experience the sensation of a thumping in your head or in your ears, that is a sign that you may be having problems with pulsatile tinnitus. This type of tinnitus originates with the flow of blood and blood vessels in the ears. The sound you will experience will be a thumping like a drum or a bass guitar.
Do You Hear Music?
When asked if you hear music, that does not mean the music on the radio that everyone else is listening to with you. When you are experiencing tinnitus, you will hear phantom sounds that are not there. One of the phantom sounds that you will hear is actual music.
The ringing from the tinnitus can present itself in a musical pattern that your brain will perceive as music. If you are hearing notes being played on a song that only you can hear, you may want to see an audiologist because that is a sign that you may have tinnitus. If that’s the case, you can start a regiment to manage your symptoms.
Have You Lost Some of Your Hearing?
If there is an obvious loss of hearing then you may have tinnitus. Hearing can stop for several reasons ranging from reactions to medications, aging and damage to the ear. If your hearing is diminishing due to reasons you cannot explain then you may be in the early stages of tinnitus. As soon as you realize that your hearing has changed, see an audiologist right away so that you can begin to manage your tinnitus or stop it from progressing further.
Have Yourself Examined
Tinnitus is caused by a lot of different factors. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can cause tinnitus as well. That is the result of teeth grinding. Have you started new medications? The list goes on and you may fall somewhere on it.
There are other areas of your life that can be greatly affected by tinnitus. This condition does more than just affect your hearing. You can become sleep deprived, which can lead to depression, fatigue and anxiety. When your brain is not well-rested you can develop memory disorders, stress, and headaches that can directly affect your work and home life.
Once the reason is found, you can start fixing the problem or at least managing your tinnitus so that you can find peace and maybe some quiet. If you want more information about tinnitus and how it can be treated, contact the team at Hearing & Balance Centers of West Tennessee by calling our Jackson office at (731) 256-5973 or Memphis at (901) 201-6761.