Ringing In Your Ears? Learn All About Tinnitus (INFOGRAPHIC)

We often hear about people who have “ringing in their ears”, but we don’t really know what it implies. Some say it’s the brain that is malfunctioning, others say it’s the ear. Does it provoke hearing loss or not? And is it caused by loud noises or is it a symptom related to an illness?

Why I wanted to talk about this

I began experiencing ringing in my ears a few years ago. At first, it was once in a while but now it happens every day. Some days are worse than others, but I basically live with tinnitus constantly. A symptom of Fibromyalgia, I accepted it as a permanent, yet annoying, part of my life.

It seems to get worse when I am tired, and that’s why I had to cut down on my writings. If I try to push it, the ringing, hissing or rushing worsen. It weakens my concentration, and I become very tired. But I still live a pretty normal life, and I am thankful for everything I have. So enough about me and let’s get on with it.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus also called ringing in the ear, is a condition characterized by whistling, rushing, ringing, swishing or other noises that come from either one or both ears, or the head. In reality, it has no external sources. The sounds heard by tinnitus sufferers can be continuous or intermittent, and the intensity can vary.

Affecting an estimated 50 million adults in the United States, tinnitus can cause people to be affected in their work or personal relationships. The sounds can become so high that some may have difficulty concentrating or sleeping. They can even suffer from psychological distress because of it.

Who can have tinnitus?

Previously known as the condition of old age, researchers have discovered that tinnitus can be experienced by people of any age, but there are specific groups of people that are more susceptible to develop it. They are:

  • Men
  • White people
  • People over 65
  • People with age-related hearing illnesses
  • People who have been exposed to long periods of loud noises
  • People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What can cause tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not an illness or a disease in and of itself but is rather a manifestation of a problem with the ear or the hearing pathways to the brain. It usually occurs when the inner ear is damaged or injured. Here are some of the causes:

  • Prolonged exposure to loud noises (the most common cause)
  • Ear infections
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Wax build-up in the ear
  • A result of other health problems like Meniere’s disease, high blood pressure or Fibromyalgia
  • Side effect of medications like aspirin, antibiotics, anti-depressants or anti-inflammatories

Tinnitus can get worse in people who drink alcohol, caffeinated beverages or spicy foods. Stress and fatigue can also make tinnitus worse. In this case, a lot of rest is known to help relieve the symptoms. 90% of cases, people with tinnitus can also have hearing loss.

How is it diagnosed?

To diagnose tinnitus, your physician will prescribe a series of tests and do a physical examination. He will check for wax, hair or foreign objects in your ear. Lastly, your doctor will ask you a list of questions to know your symptoms as well as a family and medical history.

Some of the tests will include an audiogram (hearing test), a CT scan, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an auditory brain stem response (ABR).

How is tinnitus treated?

If tinnitus is a symptom of a treatable illness, it will usually disappear when the primary disease is gone. But if the underlying condition isn’t found or not curable, like with Fibromyalgia or permanent hearing damage, there could be ways to help suppress or reduce the sounds.

White noise machines, hearing aids, and masking devices could be some solutions. Relaxation techniques also could be considered. Some medications like anxiolytics or antidepressants can also be of help. Click here to see the complete list of treatments options, presented by the American Tinnitus Association (ATA).

The visual guide to tinnitus

I found this great infographic that provides useful information about tinnitus. It was created by the U.K. branch of the worldwide hearing specialist Amplifon, dedicated to assisting people with hearing loss. Here are the highlights of the infographic:

  • What sounds may a tinnitus sufferer hear?
  • How does tinnitus happen?
  • Key facts
  • Prevention
The Visual Guide To Tinnitus Infographic
Infographic by Amplifon

Final thoughts

Living with tinnitus can make life pretty complicated. It can be very annoying and frustrating. Also, hearing loss can cause other problems, especially at work. Hearing some noises that nobody can hear can be distracting when you try to concentrate.

Over to you

Do you know someone who suffers from tinnitus? Or are you suffering from this yourself? Please, share your personal experiences with us in the comment box below!

 

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8 thoughts on “Ringing In Your Ears? Learn All About Tinnitus (INFOGRAPHIC)

  1. Hi Nataly,

    I’ve had a constant ringing my ears for the longest time. I attribute that to all the rock concerts we’ve gone to. I just learned to live with it. Most of the time I don’t even pay attention to it.

    I didn’t realize there are treatments for this. I’m going to look into it for sure.

    Thanks for sharing all this information with us! You know I’m sharing this one gf. Have a great day!

    Cori

    Like

    1. Hi Cori,

      It’s true that you learn to live with it! It becomes a part of your life!

      I didn’t know either that there were treatments for tinnitus. I hope you find something to help you. Keep me posted!

      Thanks a lot for reading this and for passing it along, gf! Have a great weekend! 🙂

      Like

  2. Sorry you’re also suffering from this, Nataly! 😦

    I developed Tinnitus after a severe ear infection some years ago and it sometimes drives me nuts, especially when there’s no background noise, like a radio or TV.

    These factors you mentioned were probably all part of the cause:
    Prolonged exposure to loud noises Lots of rock concerts!
    Ear infections A severe one which left me with chronic issues.
    Head or neck injuries
    Neck injury from a car accident over 30 years ago
    Wax build-up in the ear Seems to be another symptom. The unaffected ear doesn’t have this problem./em>

    I have found a Swedish herbal supplement that seems to help a bit, called “EAR TONE”. It contains Ginkgo Biloba, Magnesium and Maritime Pine Bark. As is usual with herbs, you have to take it for at least a month to see any effect. It has lowered the intensity of the buzzing and ringing.

    Thanks for shedding light on this condition, which has no cure.

    Like

    1. Hi Debbie,

      I’m so sorry that you have to live with this! And I’m with you about tinnitus driving you nuts. Right now, I am suffering from a nasty cold, and my ears are absolutely driving me insane. I noticed that it gets worse when I have a stuffy nose.

      Thanks for the tip about the Swedish herbal supplement, I’ll surely look into it! If it can help even a little bit, it will be worth it! I’m really glad it helped you!

      Thanks for sharing your story with us! I hope you’re having a great weekend! 🙂

      Like

  3. Hi Nat,

    Great post! I’ve been having whistling in my ear for some time. I had no idea that it might be a symptom of Fibromyalgia. I didn’t even realize there was a reason for it. I’m definitely going to talk to my doctor about it. Thanks for sharing. Hope you are doing well.

    Irish

    Like

    1. Hi Irish,

      I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this too! I knew it was a symptom related to Fibromyalgia because my mother suffers from tinnitus and Fibro. I hope that your doctor can help you. Please keep me posted!

      I’m glad you liked my post! Actually, my ears have been giving me a very hard time lately. That’s what made me write about this. Hope you’re feeling good! Happy hump day, gf! 🙂

      Like

  4. Great article about tinnitus. What I think is most annoying to tinnitus sufferers is the constant buzz that they get right before bed. I think what works great is a soothing sound like the sound of rain or the beach to help drown out the noise a little and help you go to sleep.

    Like

    1. Hi,

      Sorry for the late reply, I guess I missed your comment! It’s true that when it’s quiet at night, the buzzing in very disruptive. For me, it’s when I’m tired that the buzzing is the worst. But if I rest, it decreases.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      ~Nataly

      Like

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