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. Tinnitus is more common in men than women, and tends to be age-related, appearing most commonly after the age of 50. An estimated 50 million Americans have tinnitus; for some reason more of them in the South than other parts of the country.

There are several types of tinnitus, and there are many different sounds that those with the condition tend to hear. 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 audiologist can detect these sounds upon examination, this is called Objective tinnitus. Less frequent types of tinnitus include hearing low-frequency noises (which are often mistakenly attributed to external sources rather than tinnitus), musical hallucinations (in which the person hears what appears to be music that no one else can hear), and pulsatile tinnitus (often heard as rhythmic beats that seem to be in time with one’s pulse).

If there is a single most common symptom of tinnitus, it is hearing a persistent, high-pitched ringing noise, in one ear or in both ears. This symptom may also be experienced as a buzzing, hissing, roaring, whistling, or clicking sound, one that can change in both pitch (frequency) and amplitude (loudness). 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 experience the symptoms of tinnitus more when they are lying down or sitting, as opposed to standing up. Although for most people tinnitus is more a nuisance than anything else, for some it has severe repercussions: they may suffer increased levels of stress, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. 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. Tinnitus can be a warning sign of diseases like high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, and Meniere’s disease. If any of these symptoms describe your situation please make an appointment to see us today.

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