What is Tinnitus, What Causes It, What Are the Treatment Methods?

What is Tinnitus? What causes it? What are the treatment methods?
What is Tinnitus? What causes it? What are the treatment methods?

📩 20/09/2023 12:18

Assoc. Prof. from Memorial Şişli Hospital Ear Nose and Throat Diseases Department. Dr. Ela Araz Server gave information about tinnitus. Tinnitus occurs as sound or noise perceived by the person himself. Tinnitus can cause a mild discomfort or can be so severe that it interferes with daily life and negatively affects the quality of life. In severe cases, it can cause sleep problems, concentration disorders and depressive states.

Assoc. Prof. said that the cause of tinnitus is not fully known. Dr. Ela Araz Server said, “Although there is no sound stimulation in the ear, the person hears different sounds such as ringing, whistling, clicking and humming, which is called tinnitus or tinnitus. This sound is often not heard by other people. The sound heard in tinnitus develops as a result of a spontaneous electrical discharge in any of the organs in the auditory pathway. Although the cause of this discharge is due to many reasons such as damage to the organ called cochlea in the inner ear, external pressure on the ear nerve, and disruption of brain activities, most of the time the cause cannot be determined. “Causes may include exposure to loud noises, the natural aging process, head or neck injuries, drug reactions, emotional distress or stress.” she said.

Server stated that the severity of tinnitus may vary depending on the patient and added: "Tinnitus is not a disease on its own, but a symptom of some medical conditions." The sound may be in both ears or only in one ear. It can have different tones, varying in pitch from a low roar to a loud scream. In rare cases, tinnitus may occur as a rhythmic pulsing or buzzing sound in time with a person's heartbeat. Its severity varies depending on the patient. In some cases, the sound can be so loud that the person has difficulty concentrating or hearing outside sounds. Tinnitus may be always present or may come and go. "It is felt more acutely at night, especially during sleep hours, when the masking effect of external sounds is removed." he said.

"Many diseases can cause tinnitus," said Assoc. Dr. Ela Araz Server noted the following:

“To diagnose tinnitus, a detailed ear, nose and throat examination must first be performed. The patient's hearing should be measured with audiometric tests. If hearing loss is detected as a result of this test, advanced imaging tests for differential diagnosis; Tomography and MRI are requested. In addition, blood tests such as complete blood count, sedimentation, thyroid hormones, cholesterol and blood sugar levels should be checked to detect other underlying diseases. Consulting an ENT specialist as soon as the first symptoms appear can ensure rapid resolution of tinnitus. ”

Masking therapy is one of the most effective methods for tinnitus.

Assoc. Prof. from the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases, Memorial Şişli Hospital, stated that there is no clearly defined and accepted form of drug treatment for tinnitus. Dr. Ela Araz Server said, “If an underlying cause can be detected, this disease should be treated. It is also recommended to stay away from caffeine, alcohol, aspartame (sweetener), smoking and stress. To patients; They should be advised not to listen to tinnitus, not to stay in quiet environments as much as possible, and if possible, to sleep with a small sound while sleeping, such as relaxing music, by increasing the base noise level of the room and masking the tinnitus. Masking therapy is one of the most effective methods. Masking is giving external sound to the patient with hearing aids or some special tinnitus devices at the same tinnitus frequency and intensity. In addition, alternative treatment methods such as psychotherapy-based "tinnitus retraining therapy", transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS - Nervous System Regulatory therapy) and acupuncture can be applied. " he said.