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You may be one of the more than 50 million people in the U.S. with a form of tinnitus if you have regular buzzing or ringing in your ears. Tinnitus is not a serious condition but can be a sign of other problems, including early hearing loss.
Many different factors can cause tinnitus. Being around loud, prolonged noises like in a factory or a loud concert, certain medications, or due to an ear infection. The good news is that tinnitus is largely treatable, but you will need to see your ear doctor first to determine what type you have.
Making an appointment with a trusted audiologist like the experts at Helix Hearing Care can help you determine your tinnitus cause. There are several signs of tinnitus that you can identify yourself. If you have any of these signs, it’s time to make an audiologist appointment to get the help you need.
The most common symptom of tinnitus is a constant or common ringing in your ears. Most patients describe the noise as a continuous low ringing, buzzing, or whistling noise deep in the ear that no one else can hear. This ringing can start slowly over a few weeks or happen suddenly due to exposure to loud noises like a concert or listening to your earbuds too loudly. The essential distinguishing sign is that no one else can hear the noise, meaning that it is happening only to you on the inside of your ears.
Another sign that you may have tinnitus is a soft thumping feeling or noise on the inside of your ears. It may sound like the low thrum of a bass guitar and is likely in rhythm with your heartbeat. Pay attention to your pulse, and you will notice that the sound is similar to a low heartbeat. This is a sign of Pulsatile tinnitus, which is relatively rare and should be examined by an audiologist.
Have you ever cocked your head because you think you hear small snatches of distant music? You aren’t hearing things, exactly, but you may have an interesting form of tinnitus called musical hallucinations. When there is no music being played, you may often hear small bits of musical notes being played. This symptom often goes unnoticed as patients account for the noise with some actual music being played out of sight at a distance. When you hear this music, pay attention to determine whether it may be just in your ears or coming from an outside source.
If you are starting to notice that your hearing isn’t as good as it once was, it could be a sign of tinnitus. Do you have to turn up the TV to hear the voices, or have you started to turn up the volume on your car radio? You may also notice that your ears are particularly sensitive to sudden loud noises. All of these signs may indicate that you have tinnitus.
Although being diagnosed with tinnitus doesn’t always mean that you are losing your hearing, it can indicate other problems. If you notice any of these signs of tinnitus, call your audiologist today for an appointment.