Ringing In Ears
Ringing in ears is associated with the ear condition tinnitus; usually occurring from things like exposure to loud noise, bad enough that it seems that it does not get better yet it’s not a serious condition. Tinnitus has been around a long time and has affected people through all walks of life. Notable individuals with tinnitus and problems of ringing in ear are the singer Sting, the painter Vincent Van Gogh, and actor/singer Barbara Streisand.
Mechanisms of Subjective Tinnitus
The mechanisms of subjective tinnitus involve the process of ringing in ears, which only the person with the tinnitus can hear. It is considered the most common type of tinnitus and easily recognized. Subjective is a form of tinnitus, which involves ear problems in the entire ear: inner ear, middle ear, and outer ear. It can be caused by problems with auditory nerves, or the brain’s ability to interpret nerve signals as sound.
Mechanisms of Objective Tinnitus
The mechanisms of objective tinnitus are different than the mechanisms of subjective tinnitus as the doctor can hear it when the patient is physically examined. A more rare type of tinnitus than subjective tinnitus, objective tinnitus can be caused by problems with the blood vessels, a muscular issue or a condition of the inner ear bone.
Cause of Tinnitus
The cause of tinnitus originates from many health conditions, each one affecting it in a different way. The question asked, “Has one single cause ever been found for what causes tinnitus?” No, not really – but what has been discovered is one common source – damage to the inner ear cell. Tinnitus related, broken or bent tiny delicate hairs inside the inner ear will “leak random electrical impulses” to the brain, which is where the ringing ear or ear noise comes into play.
The most common cause of tinnitus consists of several things, consisting of age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud music, ear wax blockage, and stiffening of the middle ear bones (otosclerosis) which has been found to run in families. Other common causes of tinnitus are an inner disorder called Meniere’s disease, depression, stress, head injuries, neck injuries, and acoustic neuroma.
Rare Causes of Tinnitus
Rare causes for tinnitus which causes ringing in ears are blood vessel disorders, called pulsatile tinnitus. Some general causes are the head and neck tumors, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, turbulent blood flow, and capillary malformation. Pulsatile tinnitus occurs in about 3% of tinnitus patients, a type of ear noise that has a rhythmic pulsing, similar to the sound of the heartbeat with a “whooshing” sound. Referred to as vascular tinnitus, it is related to blood flow disturbances. Several people have both pulsatile tinnitus and continuous tinnitus combined, with both showing ringing in ears.
Causes of Pulsatile Tinnitus:
- Atherosclerotic Carotid Artery Disease – narrowing of the artery due to cholesterol build-up in the artery wall, resulting in turbulent blood flow.
- Benign Intracranial Hypertension (BIH) – increased pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid bathing the brain. Risk factors are obese young females who will develop ear fullness, hearing loss, headaches, dizziness and visual disturbances.
- Glomus tumor – located in the ear or below the ear at the skull base; a slow growing tumor consisting of a mass of intertwined blood vessels.
- Hypertension – high blood pressure patients whose blood pressure medication started the pulsatile tinnitus; it subsides in four to six weeks or a change in medicine is needed.
- Intracranial Vascular Lesions – malformation of arteriovenous and aneurism; abnormal connection between an artery and a vein.
- Middle Ear Effusion – fluid accumulation in the middle ear due to middle ear infections, Eustachian tube dysfunction, or inflammation.
- Twisted arteries – twisted arteries in the neck and head, causing turbulent blood flow.
- Venous Hum – increased blood