That Ringing In My Ear — That Hissing, Whistling, Pulsating Tone
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a medical condition characterized by persistent ringing in one or both ears that can only be heard by the affected individual. It has also been described as whistling, hissing, buzzing, or pulsing in the ear. These sounds may come and go, but for most tinnitus sufferers, the symptoms produce a constant, maddening drone. The effects range from slight annoyance to severe disruption of everyday life. The Canadian Hearing Society estimates that more than 10 percent of Canadian adults suffer from tinnitus.
What Causes Tinnitus?
There are a number of causes, with the most common being exposure to loud noise for a prolonged period of time. In this case, your hearing may be temporarily or permanently damaged, depending upon the severity of the sound.
We can’t always tell whether your temporary damage will become permanent, but tinnitus is usually representative of an inner-ear problem. Tinnitus research is ongoing, and the mechanisms that cause tinnitus in the brain and inner ear are being more closely studied. Some possible causes are:
In rare cases, tinnitus may be caused by a blood vessel disorder, resulting in pulsatile tinnitus. This type of tinnitus may be caused by a head or neck tumor, a buildup of cholesterol in the circulatory system, high blood pressure, turbulent blood flow, or malformation of the capillaries surrounding the ear. The result is a tinnitus that sends out pulsing signals in conjunction with the flow of your heartbeat.
Is There a Cure for Tinnitus?
What Are the Treatment Options for Tinnitus?
In many cases, the distressing combination of tinnitus and hearing loss can be relieved with hearing aids. Specially engineered hearing aids are now available, and they can restore ambient sounds and help fill Sound Voids™ to eliminate the effects of tinnitus.