Many people describe tinnitus as the thought of ringing in the ears. Although it is not a physical condition, nobody else can hear this ringing except the person experiencing tinnitus. Tinnitus can manifest itself in one or multiple sounds, which could be intermittent or continuous. It is perceived to be coming from within the head or one or both ears. 

Although tinnitus is indeed caused by damage to the ear, there are several other truths regarding tinnitus that you may not know. 

Tinnitus sounds vary from one person to another

While most people think of tinnitus as ringing in the ears, the sounds may vary significantly from one person to another. People experiencing tinnitus may experience various sounds such as whirring, clicking, whooshing, buzzing, chirping and hissing. They may also experience a pulsation sound that seems to originate from the head or inside the ear. 

If you experience tinnitus, the sounds you hear aren’t recognizable to those around you. If you have tonal tinnitus, the sounds appear to stay in particular frequencies and they are nearly continuous. On the other hand, the sounds experienced in pulsatile tinnitus seem to emerge in pulses, usually along the rhythm of your heartbeat. Musical tinnitus initiates the idea of songs or singing in your ears. 

It is not a disease

Tinnitus isn’t a disease. It is a symptom. It often emerges as a result of an underlying issue arising from various factors such as reaction to medication or side effects, hearing loss, head, and neck trauma, blockages in the middle ear and temporomandibular joint disorder. Because it is just a symptom, it is essential to visit your primary health care provider or audiologist to determine any underlying causes that may be leading to the tinnitus and start treatment as soon as possible. 

Tinnitus is also quite common, and it is estimated that 10-15% of adults experience it at some point in their lives. 

Stress and anxiety can contribute to tinnitus

Anxiety and stress cause various issues such as appetite and weight changes, sleep troubles and mood fluctuations. However, they also act as significant contributors to tinnitus. Individuals who experience panic attacks, high-stress levels, depression and anxiety disorder are more likely to experience tinnitus. 

There are several diagnosis and treatment options for tinnitus

An audiologist can perform general tests and hearing exams to detect tinnitus. They include checking the function of the middle ear, evaluating how well you hear volumes and frequencies and a speech recognition test. 

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are several treatment methods beneficial in alleviating the symptoms. Hearing aids help to reduce tinnitus noise for many people. They increase sound outside your ears, causing them to blend with tinnitus sounds, therefore making them less apparent. Other modes of treatment include lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, sound generators and medication. 

Getting the correct facts about the causes and symptoms of tinnitus can guide you towards the proper treatment. Ensure to visit an audiologist as soon as possible if you suspect that you are experiencing tinnitus.