Tinnitus (pronounced either tin-NYE-tus or TIN-ni-tus according to the American Tinnitus Association) is defined as hearing sounds that in most cases no one else can hear. Experienced generally more often by men over the age of 50, tinnitus appears to be age-related. Tinnitus inexplicably affects more Americans in the South than other parts of the country, and an estimated 50 million Americans currently have the condition.
Tinnitus can be of different types, and those who experience it may hear very different types of sounds. Most people with the condition hear sounds that no one else can hear; this type is referred to as Subjective tinnitus. Incredibly, there are circumstances in which a doctor or hearing instrument specialist can detect these sounds upon examination, this is called Objective tinnitus. Beyond these two common forms of tinnitus there are several other less common forms. These include musical hallucinations (a person hears music that is not playing), pulsatile tinnitus where the rhythmic beats of the heart are heard, and low-frequency sounds that are mistaken for real noises in the environment.
The prevalent symptom of tinnitus is a ringing in one or both ears. This is often a continual high-pitched ringing that does not cease. Though this is the most commonly heard sound others hear buzzing, clicking, whistling, roaring and hissing that can increase and decrease in pitch and volume. People with mild cases of tinnitus may notice the condition only when they are in quiet places, because the sounds they hear from the environment in noisier places mask the ringing sounds of tinnitus. Some people experience their tinnitus as related to their posture; for example, it is more present when they are lying or sitting down than when they're standing. For many people with mild tinnitus it is a passing irritation that comes and goes. But for those experiencing more severe symptoms it can be a source of exhaustion, depression, stress, and anxiety. Interruptions in sleep or concentration are often found in many of these severe cases. Our hearing specialists are here to diagnose and design a treatment plan for those suffering from tinnitus. This begins with an easy and painless hearing test and examination. Scheduling an appointment is highly recommended, because sometimes tinnitus can be an indicator of serious disease conditions such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and Meniere's disease, or indicate more serious forms of hearing loss.