What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is abnormal noise perceived in one or both ears or in the head. Tinnitus (pronounced either “TIN-uh-tus” or “tin- NY-tus”) can be either a constant or continuous sound or intermittent. The types of sounds may include such things as a ringing, hissing, whistling, buzzing, or clicking sound and can vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal. 
Tinnitus is very common. Most studies indicate the prevalence in adults as falling within the range of 10% to 15%, with a greater prevalence at higher ages, through the sixth or seventh decade of life. The most common form of tinnitus is subjective tinnitus, which is noise that other people cannot hear. The rarer form, objective tinnitus can be heard by an examiner positioned close to the ear.

What may cause tinnitus? 

  • Hearing loss - typically hearing loss from noise exposure leading to permanent damage to hair cells. 
  • Presbycusis - age related degeneration of inner ear and hearing system. 
  • Vestibular disorders - various vestibular impairments can impact and lead to tinnitus. 
  • Middle-ear problems - impairement to the mechanically and neurological nature of the middle ear bones ( like otosclerosis) or infection. 
  • Head and Neck lesions 
  • Medications
 A thorough examination incorporating all potential sources of dysfunction should be considered. Consultants at Brainstorm are highly skilled with advanced neuroscience techniques and may be able to assist.

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What is tinnitus?