Tinnitus is noise or ringing in the ear. It is not a disease itself, but rather a symptom caused by an underlying condition. Tinnitus can arise in the ear or in the head. The causes of tinnitus range greatly, but some of the more common causes are ear infections, exposure to loud noise, and damage to hearing nerves. The elderly are more susceptible to tinnitus because they are more likely to have hearing nerve impairments.    

There are two types of tinnitus. The most common is subjective tinnitus, in which ringing in the ear can only be heard by the person with tinnitus. When a doctor can also hear the tinnitus in a patient’s ear, it is known as objective tinnitus. Objective tinnitus is quite rare and could be caused by a muscular issue or an inner ear bone condition. 

Groups Especially at Risk for Tinnitus:

  • The elderly
  • Those exposed to loud noise on a regular basis, without hearing protection
  • Men
  • Caucasians
  • People with high anxiety levels
  • People suffering from age-related hearing loss

Tinnitus is a very common disorder. It affects nearly 36 million Americans. It should not be cause for alarm, but it is important for a doctor to examine tinnitus to determine the underlying cause.

Unfortunately, tinnitus, generally, can not be cured; however, it may subside over time. The best way to prevent tinnitus is to avoid loud noise exposure or wear hearing protection. Also, to lessen the intensity of tinnitus, it is important to maintain one’s overall health. 

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