Tinnitus is the perception of ringing, clicking, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds in the ear or head in absence of external auditory stimuli. Tinnitus itself is not a disease but it is a symptom.
Intensity of Tinnitus may vary from mild to severe. It can be intermittent or continuous. Pitch of Tinnitus may vary from low to high. It can be heard in one ear or both.
These sounds are often disturbing when surrounding environment is quiet.
Many health conditions associated with Tinnitus. Common causes are hearing loss, sudden hearing loss, ear wax, ear infections, ototoxicity, noise exposure, head and neck injuries, cervical spine disorder, high blood pressure, anaemia, diabetes, thyroid disorders, depression, stress and anxiety. In some cases, an exact cause is never found. Sometimes treating the underlying condition will relieve from Tinnitus but sometimes not.
Inner ear hair cell damage is most common cause of Tinnitus. It disrupts the electrical signal pathway from Inner hair cell to auditory centre of brain, leading to inappropriate perception of sound at the level of brain.
Tinnitus can severely affect quality of life. Few of the complications associated with Tinnitus are –
- Sleep disturbance
- Difficulty in concentrating