Do you often hear phantom noises in your ears? These noises may present in many forms and have been described as ringing, roaring, whistling, hissing, clicking or buzzing sounds. No matter what type of sound you are hearing, if there is no external sound present, you are likely suffering from tinnitus. This is a condition that affects 10 to 15% of the population. The noise varies in range from a high squeal to a low roar and may be present at all times or it may come and go. One ear may be affected or you may notice it in both. Some find the noise to be so loud that it interferes with daily life.
Two types of tinnitus have been identified. Subjective tinnitus refers to a condition in which you are the only one who can hear the sounds. This is the most common form of this condition. Ear problems can lead to these symptoms or your auditory nerves may be affected. For some, the problem originates in the section of the brain responsible for interpreting nerve signals as sound. The other type of tinnitus is objective. When you suffer from objective tinnitus, your doctor will be able to hear the sounds that you do when they do a physical exam. Often, this type is the result of an inner ear condition, a problem with your blood vessels or muscle contractions.
If you notice this type of noise in one or both ears, you need to be seen by a doctor. This is especially true if symptoms appear after an upper respiratory condition and linger for more than a week. If there is not apparent cause or the symptoms appear suddenly, you must make an appointment to be seen and the same is true if your tinnitus is accompanied by dizziness or hearing loss.
Your doctor will examine you to see if a cause can be found for the symptoms. Any underlying medical conditions must be treated before treatment for tinnitus begins. If the underlying condition is not treated, symptoms won’t improve. Tinnitus symptoms can be controlled or eliminated. The first step is finding out what is causing the ringing in the ears and what type of tinnitus you are suffering from.