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|Posted By : Dr.Archana Jhawar, M.S., E.N.T.|
|Posted On : 13 Mar 2009 (Total Views : 3361)|
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Tinnitus is not a disease rather an annoying symptom of myriad of conditions, caused by minor changes in the sensitive hearing system (Cochlea and auditory nerve).
Tinnitus (means ringing in Latin) is sound sensation in the ear or head, in the absence of any external source of sound. Commonest types are hissing, roaring, swishing, rustling, buzzing, humming, or chirping. Tinnitus varies in pitch and loudness and is more annoying in quiet surroundings, particularly at night. It can be quite disturbing leading to sleep deprivation, depression & decreased work efficiency. Most important aspect of tinnitus is distress, irritation and distraction caused by the noise. Person often feels that such noise is a symptom of brain tumor or stroke. In most cases tinnitus is not harmful.
Patient with tinnitus should undergo thorough ENT evaluation and if required neurological examination. ‘Nothing can be done and you have to live with it’ is to be avoided and patient should be investigated properly to find any treatable condition.
Most common cause for tinnitus is hearing loss because of aging, noise, drugs or chemicals.
I. Related to ear (otologic)
** Cause may be in the external, middle or inner ear
Objective causes are less frequent:
II. Not related to ear
Disease of CNS, anemia, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, hypotension, hypoglycemia, epilepsy, migraine
Assessment of tinnitus:
Most important is History and Identification of hearing loss and Clinical Examination of ear by otoscope/operating microscope with detail head and neck examination by specialist.
Treatment of the cause should take care of tinnitus but tinnitus may persist even after the disease causing tinnitus has been cured, When a lesion or disease process is not identifiable, then tinnitus management is more difficult.
There is at present no effective surgery or medical therapy for the treatment of tinnitus.
In majority of cases our system adapts to noise over a period of time and is accepted as a part of normal environment. This process can be helped by proper reassurance and counseling. Relaxation and biofeedback help to improve coping with the condition.
Tinnitus maskers are sometimes recommended. These are similar to hearing aids and generate continuous noise. Their use is based on the fact that the patient is more comfortable in a noisy environment than in a quiet surrounding.
Research shows encouraging result on the effectiveness of pharmacological therapy for tinnitus, such as carbamazepine, lidocaine, and intravenous barbiturates, but potentially serious side effects limit their use.
Avoid irritants like smoke, alcohol, caffeine, & loud noise.
Aspirin is one of the reversible causes, stop using it, and most important of all manage your stress as it makes tinnitus worse.
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