What are the different kinds of tinnitus?
There are three main kinds of tinnitus, subjective, objective and pulsatile.
Subjective tinnitus is the most common, it relates to a sound only the sufferer can hear, this can be caused by problems in your ear and the way your hearing nerve communicates with the brain.
Objective tinnitus can be heard by others in very close proximity, it’s caused by something that produces sound like a narrowing of blood vessels in the ear or muscle contractions.
Pulsatile tinnitus is where people hear tinnitus noises that beat in time with their pulse. This is usually linked to disturbances in the blood flow around the head or neck.
Can tinitus be treated?
If tinnitus is a side effect of a medical condition like an ear infection or even a buildup of wax, then treating that condition can in most cases get rid of the tinnitus or alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus, if your tinnitus is not caused by a medical condition, there are options that can help you cope with the effects of it. A qualified gp or audiologist will be able to give you advice.
Other causes of tinnitus
Meniere’s disease. Tinnitus can be an early indicator of Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that may be caused by abnormal inner ear fluid pressure.
Eustachian tube dysfunction. In this condition, the tube in your ear connecting the middle ear to your upper throat remains expanded all the time, which can make your ear feel full.
Ear bone changes. Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear (otosclerosis) may affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. This condition, caused by abnormal bone growth, tends to run in families.
Muscle spasms in the inner ear. Muscles in the inner ear can tense up (spasm), which can result in tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ear. This sometimes happens for no explainable reason, but can also be caused by neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Problems with the TMJ, the joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull, can cause tinnitus.
Acoustic neuroma or other head and neck tumors. Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops on the cranial nerve that runs from your brain to your inner ear and controls balance and hearing. Other head, neck or brain tumors can also cause tinnitus.
Blood vessel disorders. Conditions that affect your blood vessels — such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or kinked or malformed blood vessels — can cause blood to move through your veins and arteries with more force. These blood flow changes can cause tinnitus or make tinnitus more noticeable.
Other chronic conditions. Conditions including diabetes, thyroid problems, migraines, anemia, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have all been associated with tinnitus.