Ringing in the ears is a widespread problem. Medical experts estimate that one in four people suffers from whistling, buzzing or noise in the ear at least once in their lives. Often the disturbing noise fades away by itself after a short time. However, in some sufferers it becomes chronic. What are the causes of the noise in the ear. How it can be treated?
Noise in the ear – what is it??
The hissing, buzzing or whistling in the ear is medically referred to as tinnitus aurium. In this ear condition, sufferers perceive sounds that others cannot hear. However, the ringing in the ears is by no means imaginary, but actually exists. The most common form is the noise in the ear, which is heard by 40 percent of those affected. Just as many perceive a whistling sound. Ten percent hear a buzzing sound, in rare cases a ringing or chirping sound occurs. The ringing in the ears is an indication of damage in the low frequency range, a whistling indicates damage in the high frequency range.
Noise in the left or right ear
Ear noise occurs either on one side of the left or right ear, or on both ears at the same time. If the one-sided ringing in the ears is accompanied by a feeling of prere and the ear appears to be clogged with absorbent cotton, this may be a sign of a hearing loss. Those affected should consult an ear, nose and throat specialist immediately.
A hearing loss occurs within seconds. The sensory cells of the inner ear then no longer transmit sound signals to the auditory nerve. Although a hearing loss can disappear on its own, sufferers should not rely on this. With prompt treatment, the chances of recovery increase significantly.
Pulsating noise in the ear
In the case of tinnitus, a distinction is made between subjective and objective tinnitus. Both variants are real for those affected. In the case of objective tinnitus, however, a clear source of sound can be identified in the body. The doctor can also perceive the ringing in the ears with the help of a stethoscope. Only about one percent of all tinnitus cases are of an objective nature.
Objective tinnitus manifests itself as a pulsating noise in the ear. One cause of this so-called body noise is high blood prere. If the blood flows through the body at a higher prere, this is perceived as pulsating noise in the rhythm of the heartbeat. Other causes are circulatory disorders, vascular calcifications, constrictions or blood vessels and blood clots. A tumor can also trigger the pulsating ear noise
Even in the case of pulsating noise in the ear, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible in order to identify possibly life-threatening causes in time. Blood clots and narrowed blood vessels can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, prompt treatment is necessary. More about this under the pulse-synchronous tinnitus: heartbeat in the ear.
Noise in the ear – causes
In most cases, the ringing in the ear is due to a subjective tinnitus, which is only perceived by the patient himself. This form of tinnitus can have very different causes, from acoustic trauma to a simple cold.
Sound trauma – loud noises as the cause
Loud noises can damage the sensory hair cells in the ear. In this case, the ear noise is caused by acoustic trauma. A distinction is made between acute acoustic trauma or blast trauma, triggered by short, loud noises of more than 125 dB, and acute acoustic trauma, which is based on prolonged exposure to noise at more than 85 dB. The sound trauma mostly affects the sensory hair cells for the higher tones. Leads to a high-pitched whistling or buzzing sound.
Stress as an indirect trigger for the ringing in the ears
Stress can also be an indirect cause of ringing in the ears. Stress leads to tension in the jaw and cervical spine, for example. The tensions stimulate the auditory center in the brain, from this arises the subjective tinnitus.
High blood prere as a cause
In the past, it was amed that high blood prere and circulatory problems were the main causes of the annoying ringing in the ears. Today we know that this is not the case. However, there is a link between stress, high blood prere and subjective tinnitus. If the body releases the stress hormone adrenaline, the blood vessels constrict. This leads to high blood prere, while at the same time the stress promotes the ringing in the ears. Unlike objective tinnitus, however, subjective tinnitus does not cause the noise to pulsate.
Ringing in the ears and colds
People with colds often hear the world as if through absorbent cotton and also perceive a murmur in the ears. The cause is usually a buildup of secretions in what is known as Eustachi's tube, which connects the nasopharynx and the middle ear. If secretions build up or the mucous membranes swell, the prere balance no longer functions properly, which leads to the ringing in the ears. In some cases secretion can also block the ear canal. The ringing in the ears usually disappears by itself when the cold is over.
Other physical causes
In addition, there are a number of other physical causes that can lead to ringing in the ear:
– Earwax plugs – Middle ear and ear canal infections – Misalignments of the cervical spine and jaw – Calcification of the ossicles – Meniere's disease, a disease of the inner ear – Barotrauma, an injury to the middle ear caused by a sudden change in prere
Noise in the ear – treatment – what can be done?
Tinnitus treatment depends on the cause of the ringing in the ears. First, a thorough history is taken to get to the bottom of the ear noise. If there are physical causes, these are treated with the appropriate medication.
In order to improve the oxygen supply to the ear in the case of acute tinnitus, the doctor administers injections that promote blood circulation, for example cortisone. Oxygen therapy can also help. Alternative healing methods such as acupuncture are also increasingly being used.
Chronic ringing in the ears can usually not be cured. In the context of a long-term therapy the affected persons learn to live better with the tinnitus. Relaxation techniques and psychotherapy help patients to stop focusing so much on the ringing in the ears. In addition, special hearing aids are used, which reduce the tinnitus with a neutral "white noise" mask. In addition, new and alternative methods are regularly developed with the ambitious goal of curing chronic tinnitus.
In general, it seems difficult for many sufferers to find relief or even a cure. It seems to be important not to look at the ear noise in isolation, but to take into account the whole physical and physical sensation of the person in the context of a holistic medicine.
Noise in the ear – prevention
The best therapy is to prevent the noise in the ear. To do this, one should avoid loud noises as much as possible and wear hearing protection in noisy environments, such as in a disco or at a concert. Those who are frequently exposed to noise at work should talk to their employer about professional hearing protection.
In addition, try to avoid stress and relax regularly. Anyone who hears a ringing in the ears from time to time should consult an ear, nose and throat specialist as soon as possible. The sooner the cause of the ringing in the ears is identified, the better the tinnitus can be treated.