Introduction to the different types of tinnitus
I have discussed the definition of tinnitus, but today I would like to go into a little more detail about the different types of tinnitus. There are basically two types of tinnitus, Objective Tinnitus and Subjective Tinnitus.
Objective Tinnitus : this is whereby the noises that the person is hearing can also be heard by a doctor or a practitioner who is examining that person.
Subjective Tinnitus : This is whereby the noises that the person is hearing can only be heard by the person.
Let us first start with objective tinnitus.
Pulsatile tinnitus is a form of objective tinnitus. As the word hints , its a form of tinnitus whereby the person hears rhythmical noises that go at the same beat as the heart. If you check your pulse ( by placing your index and middle fingers of the one hand on the wrist of the other hand just below the base of your thumb), you will notice that the pulse beat and the “throbbing” noise in your ear beat at the same rate. This turbulent blood flow that the patient hears can be heard by the ENT(ear, nose and throat) specialist, hence been an objective form of tinnitus.
What causes this?
Pulsatile tinnitus(PT) is caused by changes in the blood flow in the vessels near your ear. Infection or inflammation can give rise to this condition. Anatomical changes in the structure of the ear can cause a change in blood flow. Atherosclerosis, a condition which hardens the arteries makes the blood vessels more narrow. When the blood vessels become narrow, they look for neighbouring vessels to carry extra blood and this extra flow brings about the noise. If you become more aware of this noise, then the brain will interpret it as been a noise of significance and the noise will be more prominent and prevalent.
Other causes of pulsatile tinnitus can be perforated eardrums, “glue ear” and even certain tumours. Yes, vascular tumours though are rare can affect the middle ear.
To look more deeply into what is causing the abnormalities of the blood flow , medical practitioners use various techniques, like MRI(magnetic resonance imaging) and Ultrasound.
If blood pressure, or infection or inflammation are the underlying cause for PT, then treatment will be readily available.Otherwise, the alternative path is to look at sound therapy, relaxation therapy and tinnitus retraining therapy to name a few.
Of the different types of tinnitus this is the most common form. The intensity varies from one person to the next and many different noises can been heard by the person at any given time. Sometimes tinnitus may not even get louder over time and bother the person and at other times it can aggravate the persons day to day activity.
If a person has tinnitus for a long time it is possible that he or she may get “Musical Tinnitus” This is whereby the noise is heard as music or songs or sometimes even classical melodies. Sometimes what happens is that the brain over time converts this tinnitus into sound that is more organised, bothersome no doubt, but organised.
Certain medication can cause this type of tinnitus. They can destroy the tiny hair cells in the cochlea which are responsible for picking up sound and sending it to the ear for interpretation.
If they are destroyed(also due to extreme loud noise exposure or the natural aging process) , then the cochlea will have a difficult time at interpreting the information, and hearing becomes tough. When we are stressed out , the tinnitus may also present itself more regularly.
I have had the pulsatile tinnitus awhile back and can literally feel the blood pumping in my ear. It really is something that I wish for no-one to experience,(especially since I can’t hear in the right ear, things were really difficult).
I have been through lots of lifestyle modifications and therapies and watched my diet and can tell you that, that with the grace of Almighty that the pulsing feeling is not as bad. The battle for me though, is far from over.
The bad news is that I got a sort of low frequency tinnitus which is a subjective tinnitus.
Are you getting confused?
I get confused as to where the sound is actually coming from. Is it coming from the environment or am I hearing it in my head. I think that I am hearing the wind blowing outside, but to my disappointment, its still and quiet as peaceful as ever. I hear noises which may be humming, murmuring, rumbling or even deep groaning.
If I am quiet or alone, I hear these noises more prominently. I have discovered a few tricks which I hope may help you if you have a similar tinnitus to mine.
Whilst driving, I open the window and find I can have a conversation much easier with people in the car as the added external noise makes it easier to pick up sounds. The same applies to my work environment, the pharmacy where I work at is quiet, so I struggle, but the second I am outside in the mall aisles, its heaven. Peoples voices become “louder” to me or easier to hear as the noisy environment is masking the noises in my head, making it easier to communicate.
SO WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR THIS TYPE OF TINNITUS
I know this may sound crazy but sometimes I notice that the tinnitus may be worse the one day compared to the next. Only a few things were different on these days.
The way I was sleeping or lying down could have something to do with it. Its possible here that if there were any changes in blood flow , or pressure on the nerves due to this lying down then the tinnitus intensity can be affected.
Sometimes tinnitus can also come about from colds, or ear infection and or even just having your ear syringed. Just something you can take note of.
- I always think speaking to your ENT is a good idea.
- Sound Therapy– (reduces the differences between the tinnitus noise and background noise)
- Sound Generators– (produce soothing sounds like shh, act as a masker)
- Nature Sounds– (listen to cds with nature sounds)
- Hearing Aids– (they help to prevent further loss of hearing and allow less straining. Hearing aids helps you to hear background noises which you could not hear before and send this information to the brain and thereby allowing the person to be unaware of the tinnitus)
- Relaxation Techniques and Exercises– helps you to be calm and collected and keep the stresses at bay.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my blog on the different types of tinnitus and the suggestions that I offer related to this on-going battle with tinnitus. If you would like to share with me your personal experience and which type of tinnitus you are currently battling with, please feel to use the comments box below. Thank you very much for your time and take care of yourself.