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Tinnitus

Tinnitus (Ringing In The Ears)

Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Some of the more common sounds reported are ringing, humming, buzzing, and cricket-like. It can be constant or intermittent and is heard in one ear, both ears or in the head. Tinnitus can originate in the middle ear (behind the eardrum) or in the sensorineural auditory system.


The Most Common Causes Are:


Noise exposure (e.g. from shooting or machines at work)

A natural part of the aging process

Head injury (e.g. from a car accident or fall)

As a side effect of medications (e.g. aspirin — see ototoxic drugs)


It is important to keep in mind that tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. As such, the optimal treatment strategy should be directed toward eliminating the disease, rather than simply alleviating the symptom. Also, because tinnitus may be symptomatic of a more serious disorder, it is important to try to find the medical cause before deciding on treatment.


Preventing and Minimizing Tinnitus

Here are a few things you can do to help prevent and minimize tinnitus:

Reduce exposure to extremely loud noise

Avoid total silence

Decrease salt intake

Monitor your blood pressure

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine

Exercise

Reduce fatigue

Manage stress

Educate yourself


While there is no known cure for most forms of tinnitus, these are several management options available. Most tinnitus sufferers can find varying degrees of relief from one or a combination of the above.


Medications

There is no single medication that works on all tinnitus patients. Some of the antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications available are helpful for certain tinnitus patients, however more research is needed in this area.


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