Tinnitus is a perception of ringing sound in the ears or head which is not from an external source. Apart from ringing sound, it also can be sound like roaring, hissing, or buzzing.
In very rare cases, tinnitus patients report hearing music. According to studies, around 25 million Americans experience tinnitus making it one of the most common health conditions in the country.
The US Centres for Disease Control estimates that roughly 20 million people struggle with painful chronic tinnitus while 2 million have debilitating cases.
An overview of tinnitus
Sometimes, tinnitus is the first sign of hearing loss in older people and it can also be a side effect of some medications.
People who work in noisy environment develops tinnitus gradually. Exposure to severe noise overtime damages tiny sensory hair cells in the inner ear that help to transmit sound to the brain.
This leads to noise-induced hearing loss. It may also be caused by problems with blood flow in the head or neck.
The source of the ringing sound in our ears is the networks of brain cells that make sense of the sounds our ears hear.
Scientists believe that tinnitus is similar to chronic pain syndrome in which the pain persists even after the wound has healed.
What happens inside the brain of a tinnitus sufferer?
The majority of the cases of tinnitus are preceded by a loss of hearing as the result of damage to the inner ear from aging, injury, or long-term exposure to loud noise.
This makes some changes inside the brain of the tinnitus sufferer. Tinnitus was closely related to precuneus, a part of the brain that was connected to two other networks in the brain known as the dorsal attention network and the default mode network.
The default mode network controls all the background activities during rest or relaxation while the dorsal mode network realizes the stimulants like noises and touch.
These two networks combine to provide relaxation and reduce mental fatigue. If you are suffering from tinnitus, your brain focuses on the ringing inside your ears, and this lapse the default mode network and interrupts your mind’s focus. Read Quietum Plus reviews to know more.
There are two types of tinnitus:
Subjective tinnitus is associated with hyperactivity of the auditory cortices which possibly results from neurovascular compression. It is generally caused by any auditory or neurological reactions due to damage to hearing.
People suffering from subjective tinnitus experience a perceived sensation of sound that occurs in the absence of external sound stimulation and cannot be heard by the observer.
This type of tinnitus is most commonly found and one-third of adults experience this tinnitus during their lives. Subjective tinnitus is often associated with depression and stress. The most common cause of subjective tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss and otosyphilis.
Objective tinnitus is the rarest type of tinnitus and it is caused by any physical occurrence, increased blood flow, vibrations in the ear, or due to overused muscles in the ear. Unlike subjective tinnitus, observers can hear the noise in the inner ear of the patients suffering from objective tinnitus.
Tinnitus has a great impact on a patient’s personal and social life. It is also associated with a range of related serious health conditions like vestibular disorders, audiological problems, and other health issues.