Tinnitus, a condition characterized by ringing, buzzing, pulsing or whooshing sounds in one or both ears, can significantly impact the lives of approximately 10% of the U.S. adult population. Knowing how to talk about your tinnitus can help ensure you get the most beneficial and accurate symptom management help possible. Let’s take a look at a couple of different types of tinnitus and some tips to help you discuss it.
The Different Types of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is broadly categorized into subjective and objective types. Subjective tinnitus, accounting for 99% of cases, is commonly associated with auditory and neurological reactions to factors such as hearing loss, exposure to loud noise and physical trauma. Objective tinnitus, which is far less common, accounting for less than 1% of cases, can be heard by others and is typically caused by internal body functions related to the circulatory system or musculoskeletal movement.
Further classification of tinnitus includes primary, secondary, pulsatile and somatic types. Primary tinnitus is frequently linked to inner ear hearing loss, where the brain compensates for reduced auditory input by generating its own noise. Secondary tinnitus is caused by factors other than hearing loss, such as loud noise exposure, physical trauma, ear infections and certain ototoxic medications. Somatic tinnitus is triggered by sensory changes in the body, such as muscle spasms or movements of the jaw, shoulders, neck or head. Pulsatile tinnitus, characterized by rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sounds similar to a heartbeat, is associated with conditions like high blood pressure or anemia.
How To Talk About Your Tinnitus
When discussing tinnitus with a healthcare provider, it is crucial to provide detailed information about the specific sounds experienced, potential triggers and the frequency and duration of tinnitus episodes.
This information can aid in accurate diagnosis and the development of a suitable symptom management plan. Management options may include hearing aids or sound machines for sound masking, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques or a combination of these approaches. For instance, your provider may suggest relaxation methods like yoga at Peace Yoga Gallery combined with sound masking from hearing aids.
If you are looking for effective management strategies for tinnitus, we encourage you to contact The House Institute Hearing Health Centers and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. They can provide further guidance and support tailored to your individual needs.