Definition of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is defined as a ringing, whistling, chirping, hissing or buzzing or other sound sensation in the ears. Tinnitus sensations can either be continuous or intermittent and can differ in volume or loudness. This condition can get worse when background noise is minimal making it more prominent at night when you are in a quiet room and trying to get some sleep. In some conditions the tinnitus sound can be a pulsatile tinnitus meaning the sound rhythm is in sync with your heart beat.
Tinnitus affects around 50 million adult Americans and is quite a prevalent condition. Most people with tinnitus view it as a mere nuisance but in certain extreme cases, tinnitus can cause concentration and sleeping problems in a person. This condition can be so difficult that it can disrupt a person’s normal life and cause problems in his relationships which can lead to psychological distress.
Even if it is connected to loss of hearing (hearing loss contribute to tinnitus), tinnitus does not contribute to loss of hearing. Most people with tinnitus have normal hearing function and some people having tinnitus even possess sharp hearing acuity (hyperacusis) that forced them to mask or lessen the sounds that they hear.
Some tinnitus cases can stem from blockages or infections in the ear. When these blockages or infections have been addressed, the tinnitus likewise goes away. The problem is that in many cases after the underlying condition has been addressed, the tinnitus still lingers one. When this happens, other alternative or conventional therapies can be provided that will result in a substantial relief of the problem which may either take a covering up or a lessening of the irritating sound.
Types of Tinnitus
- Subjective tinnitus – This is the most typical form of tinnitus. The tinnitus sound is only heard by the affected person.
- Acute tinnitus – This type of tinnitus usually appears without any warning. Its duration can be from 3 months (acute) to up to a whole year (subacute).
- Chronic tinnitus – This type of tinnitus lasts over a year.
- Compensated tinnitus – This is a mild form of tinnitus that does not qualitatively disrupt the life of the affected person.
- Uncompensated or chronically complex tinnitus – The life of the affected person is severely disrupted by this type of tinnitus in such a way that it attains pathological significance.