What is tinnitus? Is it common?
Tinnitus is the name for noises we hear in the ear or in the head in the absence of an external sound. This means that no one can hear it except the affected individual. Nearly 20% of adults suffer from this discomfort at some point in their life. Tinnitus may come and go, or it may be a continuous sound.
Tinnitus can vary in frequency from low to high pitch. It may be of one tone or varying tones. If the tinnitus is constant and loud, it can be disturbing, annoying and distracting. Some individuals that have tinnitus may be so troubled by the tinnitus that it affects their daily life.
What causes tinnitus?
There are many causes of tinnitus. Some causes are not minor such as ear wax. Tinnitus can also be a symptom of more serious middle ear problems such as infection, a hole in the eardrum, and middle ear fluid build up, or stiffening (otosclerosis) of the middle ear bones.
Medical conditions such as allergy, high or low blood pressure (blood circulation problems), tumour, diabetes, thyroid problems and injury to the head and neck. Medications such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, sedatives/antidepressants, and aspirin can cause tinnitus.
What are the common causes according to age?
For all ages: Most tinnitus comes from damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Exposure to loud noise, ear infections and certain medications can affect these nerve endings.
If you’re older: Advancing age is generally accompanied by a certain amount of hearing nerve impairment and tinnitus.
If you’re younger: Exposure to loud noises such as a noisy club, rock concerts, and loud music from ear phones can cause temporary or permanent tinnitus depending on length and intensity of exposure. It is probably the leading cause of tinnitus and often damages hearing as well.
If your tinnitus last More than a month or it is one sided, it is important to see an ENT doctor to investigate the cause of your tinnitus so that the best treatment can be determined.
What to expect at your visit to the ENT Clinic?
There are many causes of tinnitus as outline above. Tinnitus Treatment Singapore can successfully managed the condition so that the individual no longer hears the tinnitus or is no longer bothered by tinnitus.
Consultation: History Taking
Firstly, at our centre for Tinnitus Treatment Singapore, a through history is taken. This would include possible causes of the tinnitus like ear infection, ear trauma, loud noise exposures, medical conditions as well as medication that the patient is on.
Medications that can cause or worsen Tinnitus
- Pain and anti inflammatory medications like Aspirin, ibuprofen, Naproxen
- Antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, vibramycin, gentamicin, erythromycin
- Antimalarial drugs like chloroquine
- Certain anticonvulsants like carbamazepine
- Certain anticancer drugs like cisplatin
- Certain Diuretics like frusemide
- Certain antidepressants like amitriptyline
Once a through history is taken, the following investigations will be performed at our centre for Tinnitus Treatment Singapore. This include ear examination, hearing tests and if indicated certain blood tests and radiological investigations.
Treatment at our ENT Speciaist Clinic
Medications may be helpful in reliving anxiety and reduce the severity of the tinnitus. If there is a specific cause, treating the underlying cause may reduce the tinnitus.
In cases where the underlying cause is not known or not easily reversed, tinnitus retraining therapy and or counseling may be recommended at ENT Specialist Clinic.
In individuals that has hearing loss, hearing aids or masking aids can be effective in relieving the tinnitus. After assessment, we can make the necessary recommendations.