What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not actually classified as a disease, but rather a symptom of a larger underlying problem. Those who have tinnitus can experience many different types of abnormal sounds with no exterior or outside cause. These sounds can include ringing, buzzing, whistling, hissing, humming, and other types of noises which can be due to a wide range of underlying problems. There are a number of conditions which can lead to tinnitus with a variety of factors which can cause symptoms to range from very mild to severe.

Underlying Causes of Tinnitus

One of the most common causes of tinnitus is noise damage, usually due to listening to music at a high volume or being exposed to other very loud sounds for a prolonged period of time. Certain in-ear headphones can cause damage to the canal of the ear, causing temporary or even permanent damage. Hearing loss is closely associated with tinnitus, mostly because noise damage is one of the more common explanations as to why a person might develop it over time. There are other things which can lead to tinnitus, such as certain otoxic medications along with external ear infections and severe trauma to the head.

The ringing or buzzing sounds which are associated with tinnitus can present in either one or both ears. The noise which tinnitus sufferers experience can either be a minor inconvenience or a day-to-day struggle depending on the severity. While this noise can be masked by louder external sounds, sometimes it is too severe and can be heard over them. Because tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition rather than a disease itself, there is no universal cure for it. One can develop tinnitus over the course of years or just a couple days, depending on what the cause is.

Types of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition which can be broken down into two different classifications, subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is when someone perceives a sound that cannot be heard by others. This is considered to be the most common type of tinnitus. The more uncommon type of tinnitus is referred to as “objective” tinnitus, which means that a doctor can sometimes also hear the sound that the patient is hearing by listening carefully enough. The type of sound that someone with tinnitus hears depends primarily on the actual cause of it.