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Understanding Tinnitus

Understanding Tinnitus

What That Ringing in Your Ears Means

While it's fairly common for people to experience ringing in their ears every now and then, it can also be a cause for concern. The health experts at ATRIO Health Plans are here to shed some light on tinnitus and what it may mean for your health.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the head with no actual external source of the sound. This sound can feel as though it’s coming from one or both ears, inside the head, or even from afar.

For most people, this manifests as the following sounds:

  • Ringing
  • Chirping
  • Buzzing
  • Whistling
  • Roaring
  • Shrieking
  • Swooshing
  • Clicking

Common Causes of Tinnitus

In most instances, people experience brief bouts of tinnitus after being exposed to extremely loud noises. However, the following can also bring on this unwanted and annoying sound:

  • Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis)
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Excessive ear wax (ceruminosis)
  • Head congestion
  • Loose hair from the ear canal
  • Dirt or foreign objects in the middle ear
  • Head and neck trauma
  • Sinus pressure
  • Barometric trauma from diving or snorkeling
  • Barometric trauma from flying in a plane
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Certain cancer medications
  • Water pills and diuretics
  • Quinine-based medications

Courses of Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for most forms of tinnitus. However, there are several treatment options that can help those suffering from chronic tinnitus to manage their symptoms. These treatment options include:

  • Staying on top of your general wellness
  • Wearing a hearing aid
  • Sound therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Medication therapy
  • TMJ treatment

If you’re experiencing ringing in your ears, be sure to reach out to your primary care doctor to discuss possible treatment options for you.