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We relocated our office from Solana Beach to Carlsbad in October 2017.

Pacific ENT of San Diego County's Carlsbad * Treating Sinusitis * Sinus Surgery * Sleep *  Snoring * Sleep Apnea * Allergies * Ear Hearing & Balance * Voice * Head & Neck Surgical Care Allergist ENT Sinus Doctors of San Diego County California

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the name for ringing or other head noises. Some people pronounce it "TIN-ih-tus" and others "tih-NYE-tus." Either way is correct. Both are in the dictionary. The sound may be ringing, roaring, beating, clicking, banging, buzzing, hissing, humming, chirping, clanging, sizzling, whooshing, rumbling, whistling or even a shrieking noise. It may be continuous or come and go. Nearly 36 million Americans suffer from tinnitus.

Most tinnitus cannot be heard by other individuals. Occasionally tinnitus may be heard by the physician (objective tinnitus) if it is caused by abnormalities of the blood vessels or muscle spasms.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease.

The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the inner ear. Common causes are exposing your ears to loud sounds, taking various drugs, eating certain foods, hearing loss, allergies, stress and various ear conditions

In one study, noise exposure accounted for one out of four cases of tinnitus. Tinnitus from noise exposure and hearing loss generally go together. The American Tinnitus Association reports that up to 90% of all people with tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. Avoiding loud noises or using hearing protection (ear plugs or ear muffs) can prevent this from occurring.

Several medications may cause tinnitus. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, antidepressants and sedatives may cause tinnitus. Caffeine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), nicotine and alcohol should be avoided if you experience tinnitus.

Allergies, stress and temporomandibular joint syndrome may cause tinnitus. Other conditions include high or low blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid problems.

Certain ear conditions may also trigger tinnitus. Conditions that can trigger tinnitus include stiffening of the small bones in your middle ears (otosclerosis), pressure problems in the Eustachian tubes, an increase of fluid in your inner ears (Meniere's disease) or middle ear infections. In addition, tinnitus may be caused by benign tumors on your auditory nerves (acoustic neuroma), by tumors on your auditory nerves (acoustic neuroma) or operations on or around your ears. Even ear wax (cerumen) build-up, foreign bodies or swelling in your ear canals.

How Is Tinnitus Treated?

An examination of the ears and head and neck region is performed by the physician. An audiogram (hearing test) is usually performed. Additional tests including laboratory work, x-rays or balance tests may help find the cause of the tinnitus.

If hearing loss is present, hearing aids may be helpful in reducing the tinnitus.

Masking noises may also help. A competing sounds at a constant low level such as a radio, fan or radio static (white noise) is often helpful. Products that generate white noise are also available through catalogs and specialty stores. Concentration and relation exercises can help reduce the intensity of tinnitus in some patients.

Other helpful hints:

  • AVOID exposure to loud sounds and noises
  • Decrease you intake of salt. Salt impairs blood circulation.
  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola, and tobacco.
  • Get your blood pressure checked and have high blood pressure treated by your physician.
  • Exercise daily to improve your circulation
  • Get adequate rest and avoid fatigue
  • Reduce your stress.

Good resources for additional information are:

Sinus Sinusitis Allergy Ear Nose & Throat Doctor San Diego California Orange County Riverside Sinus Treatments
Sinus Doctors of North San Diego Orange County California Sinusitis Balloon Sinu Learn more about surgical treatments
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