A ringing in the ears is not just another symptom that you can dismiss; it is the result of damage to the ear. The medical term for this condition is tinnitus, which occurs when sensory hair cells die in the cochlea or inner ear.
Tinnitus is not uncommon and affects a great number of people – 15 to 20% of people worldwide experience this ailment, but most people dismiss it as a temporary phase. Different people experience it differently. For some people it might be the typical ringing, while others may experience buzzing, clicking, hissing, whooshing, or even sounds of the ocean waves.
There is also some variance in the intensity and frequency of tinnitus. For many people, the ringing in the ears is more noticeable at night, when other sounds are less distracting. Tinnitus is not a potentially life-threatening condition, it can be a constant disturbance for you. And of course, it is debilitating, too. Let’s understand the symptoms and causes of ear ringing:
Those with tinnitus experience a ringing in their ears that no one else can hear, which can interfere with their ability to concentrate on their work. As previously mentioned, the sounds can vary from person to person.
In rare cases, the ear ringing is often in sync with the heartbeat – this is termed as ‘pulsatile tinnitus.’ Any type of rhythmic pulsing or whooshing sounds come under this category. The rhythmic ear ringing can also be heard by the doctor as he/she examines you for pulsatile tinnitus.
A bent or broken hair inside the ear can leak random electrical impulses to the brain, resulting in tinnitus. Ear infections or blockages in the ear canal can also result in ringing in your ears. Trauma due to head or neck injuries often leads to tinnitus in one ear. At times, certain medications can also cause or worsen tinnitus.
If left untreated, tinnitus can lead to stress, fatigue, sleep issues, anxiety, irritability, and productivity issues. Timely detection and treatment of tinnitus would help avoid all of these peripheral ailments.