A low, weird ringing in my ear: Possible causes and solutions for unknown noises
“It was one of those silent nights in my bedroom when I thought I heard something. It was like a whistling or hissing sound in my ear. I thought I was imagining things. Then it happened again. It keeps on happening. The noise doesn’t cause any pain. It is just bothersome.”
According to Medical News Today, this condition is called tinnitus. Adults that are 50 and above are prone to developing tinnitus. Still, children and adolescents can have it.
Though it is not painful, tinnitus or “ringing in the ears” can cause difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, depression, anxiety, and irritability. On students, it can lead to poor performance in school.
What causes tinnitus?
Because the ringing in the ears can make life noisier than usual, seek medical help should be sought. As explained by an audiologist, there are different potential causes of tinnitus. Still, the exact cause is hard to point out.
As for Healthline, here are the possible causes of tinnitus:iam
- Earwax buildup
- Exposure to loud noises or acoustic trauma
- Dental issues like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Meniere’s disease that causes fluid buildup in the inner ear
- Taking a high dosage of oral drugs like antidepressants, antibiotics or aspirin
- Hearing loss problem due to age
- Medical conditions like high cholesterol or diabetes
Tinnitus diagnosis: How it is confirmed?
To diagnose tinnitus, your complete health history will be needed by your doctor. A physical examination will follow especially on the head and neck area. The nerves in the said area will be checked.
Also, a hearing test is needed. For the test, your doctor will determine if you hear a specific sound correctly. The test is called the auditory brainstem response (ABR).
A CT scan or MRI is also needed to take images of your ears. This is to check for deformities or ear damages. If you have a history of high blood pressure or a thyroid problem, a blood test is necessary. Some patients are asked to undergo a spinal tap to determine the presence of fluid in the skull and spinal cord. The presence of fluid in the said areas are among the causes of having a hissing sound in the ear.
Three types of tinnitus
You read it right, eMedicineHealth identified three types of tinnitus. These are the following:
- Subjective Tinnitus – if you are the only hearing the sound or ringing in your ear
- Clicking Tinnitus – if you hear a clicking sound that goes with your heartbeat
- Objective Tinnitus – if other people, like your audiologist, hear the sound that you hear
Symptoms of tinnitus
- Intermittent ringing/buzzing sound in one ear
- Continuous ringing/buzzing sound in one ear
- Vertigo or difficulty swallowing
The things to do at home to deal with my tinnitus
Hearing a hissing sound at the dead of the night is irritating. It keeps people awake and makes them worry about it. Remedies depend whether tinnitus is mild. At night, for instance, “white noise” or sounds can cancel out the tinnitus. Leaving the TV on and just leave the “sleep timer” on to automatically turn it off. Another idea is listening to music with headphones.
There are other things that can help reduce the effect of tinnitus in your life, especially at night:
- Avoiding caffeine
- Trying acupuncture treatment
- Wearing earplugs when exposed to loud noise
- Taking vitamin B6 supplements such as lipoflavonoid
If the ringing or buzzing sound in your ear is affecting your personal life and home remedies are not working, you should seek medical assistance.
When to see a doctor?
The hissing sound sometimes is not painful. It is just distracting and irritating. According to rush.edu, you should see a doctor if:
- You start feeling dizzy for no reason
- You are having symptoms of vertigo
- You are losing your hearing completely
- You hear your heartbeat for some reasons
Common treatment for tinnitus
Only a doctor can tell what to do to treat tinnitus, and these are the most common courses of action:
- Oral treatment like antidepressant drugs
- Biofeedback treatment
- Wearing hearing aids
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Acupuncture treatment
- Lifestyle change
- Bite implant
- Cochlear implant
- Acoustic neural stimulation
Is tinnitus preventable?
Yes. There are ways to avoid developing tinnitus according to the American Tinnitus Association. For one, you can wear earmuffs if you are working in a noisy environment or where loud noise is always present. Wear ear protection even when doing activities where your ears are exposed to some noise such as blow-drying your hair.
Also, avoid damaging your hearing. Avoid wearing headphones on maximum volume. If you are going to an event like a concert or ball game, wear hearing protection or devices that can reduce the noise level.
Watch out your lifestyle. There are medical conditions that can cause tinnitus like diabetes or high blood. Eat healthy foods. Avoid excessive drinking and smoking. Avoid stress.
Is tinnitus curable?
Apparently, there is no absolute treatment for tinnitus yet. It comes and goes. The treatments available for tinnitus meant to reduce its occurrence. However, it doesn’t cure it completely. Still, if you practice a healthy diet, exercise, and avoid stress, your chance of having tinnitus again is lesser.
The editorial unit
The material contained in this article is of the nature of general comment only and does not give advice on any particular matter. Recipients should not act on the basis of this article’s information without taking appropriate professional advice.