What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus refers to a condition where one hears a ringing or buzzing in the ears without any external sound source. The sound can occur in one or both of the ears. In severe cases, it can impact on sleeping patterns and be extremely disabling.
What causes it?
Tinnitus can be caused by multiple different pathologies affecting the outer, middle or inner ear such as ear wax, infection, damage to the eardrums, or the bones inside the middle ear and hearing loss. Excessive exposure to loud sounds can also cause the condition, as can certain medications. In rare cases, tumours inside the ear can cause a ringing sound.
How can it be treated?
It is important to consult your doctor to investigate the causes of tinnitus. Hearing aids can help improve tinnitus in certain cases. If no cause for the tinnitus is found, it is most likely due to damage of tiny hair cells within the inner ear which cannot be repaired by medication or surgery. On these occasions your doctor can advise you on lifestyle changes which may help you cope with the symptoms better.