Tinnitus refers to a ringing noise in the ears. This noise has been likened to the "sound of a cricket", a buzzing, clicking or a roaring noise.
Tinnitus is a common problem and affects about 20% of the population at some point. It can occur at any time of the day. However, it tends to be most noticeable when the background is quiet.
In serious cases, it may be so loud that it interferes with actual hearing. Thankfully, most cases are mild and patients won’t even notice this ringing noise once occupied with activity.
- Age related hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noise
- Nasal allergies or sinus infections
- Injury to the eardrum
- Tumours of the nerves and brain
- Blood vessel disorders
- Medication induced
Tinnitus may also worsen if you have:
- Insufficient sleep or inability to fall asleep
See an ENT specialist if the intensity of your tinnitus is bothering you and interfering with your daily life, or if it is accompanied by hearing loss and giddiness.
The doctor will examine your ears, recommend a hearing test or even suggest an MRI/CT scan of your inner ear and brain, depending on the suspected cause of your tinnitus.
Some causes of tinnitus can be treated easily while others are not.
Conditions that can be treated easily:
- Earwax removal
- Treating ear infection
- Treating a blocked nose or sinus infection
- Changing your medication
If tinnitus is mild or occurs in quiet places:
- Have some background noise to mask your tinnitus
- Keep yourself occupied with some activities to distract from the noise
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes
- Manage your stress
However, if the noise still bothers you a lot, you may look into:
- Hearing aids
- Tinnitus Maskers
- Tinnitus retraining
- Neuromonics Device