What is Tinnitus

Almost everyone knows the temporary, annoying ringing in the ears after a rock concert or other noisy event. But for some the sounds never stop, even after many years. They are sometimes so disturbing to them that normal daily life is no longer possible. This perception of irritating sounds that do not enter through the ear, but are made by the brain, or sometimes by the Ear itself, we call tinnitus.

Tinnitus emerges in many, many forms such as: squeaking, whistling, voices, bubbling, chattering, humming, and so on. The sounds may be constantly present or may only occur occasionally. Often tinnitus is also associated with hearing loss. Hearing loss should not immediately be considered hard of hearing or deafness, but rather not being able to hear certain tones (frequencies). The sound that enters the ears from outside is, for example, heard as "dull", this is because the high tones are not heard well. A simple test to see if you can hear high tones (from 4,000 Hz) can be found here.

Often the tinnitus disappears by itself, or is only occasionally noticeable, but sometimes it becomes a chronic problem. Tinnitus can have a huge impact on the well-being of the patient, and can be the cause of despair, anger, anxiety and depression. The noise can be so irritating that the patient has problems relaxing or sleeping, and even performing the normal functions of daily life.

There are many manifestations of tinnitus, the main categories are subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. Below we describe what this difference is.

Subjective Tinnitus

Subjective tinnitus is the perception of sound without an external acoustic stimulus underlying it. Others around the tinnitus patient do not hear the sounds and cannot measure them with sensitive sound equipment. This also makes it very difficult for doctors and other scientists to evaluate. After all, there is little more than just the experience of the patient.

Objectieve Tinnitus

It is called Objective tinnitus when the sound that the patient hears but that other people do not readily hear, can, in fact be heard in the patient's ear, For example by listening to the patient's ear with a stethoscope. In this case it is possible to identify a sound source, for example the flow of blood in a vessel near the ear canal or muscle spasm in the middle ear. Objective tinnitus is relatively rare.

Further reading "Causes of Tinnitus"

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