If you suffer from tinnitus -- a condition characterized by a constant ringing in the ears -- you are well aware of the negative impact it can have on your life. From a mild irritation to a debilitating distraction, tinnitus can pose a host of problems for those affected by the ailment, prompting many to ask the important question: Can tinnitus be cured?
What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
From buzzing and hissing to ringing and whistling, the symptoms of tinnitus are wide and varied. At its core, however, tinnitus causes a phantom sound in the ears when no external noise is being made. The condition can occur in one or both of the ears and can range from a low rumble to a high-pitched squeal, often interfering with a person's ability to sleep, concentrate or hear other sounds. In many cases, the symptoms of tinnitus come and go, but the condition can also be present all of the time.
What causes tinnitus?
The cause of the condition depends greatly upon the type of tinnitus with which you have been diagnosed. Subjective tinnitus is a form in which the ringing or buzzing in the ears can only be heard by the person affected, and is generally caused by problems in the inner, middle or outer ear, as well as issues with auditory nerves.
The second type of tinnitus -- objective tinnitus -- consists of a sound that can also be detected by your doctor during an examination. Considered to be far less common than its subjective counterpart, objective tinnitus is typically caused by muscle contractions, blood vessel issues or a condition involving the inner ear bone.
Can tinnitus be cured?
For the thousands of people affected by the condition, determining whether or not their particular case of tinnitus can be cured is paramount. In some circumstances, symptoms of the condition fade or disappear altogether, although it can continue for a prolonged period of time for many people. If you suffer from tinnitus, your doctor will likely attempt to treat the underlying cause of the condition first; this can range from removing a build-up of earwax to treating ailments that affect your blood vessels.
While your physician is in the process of treating the underlying causes of your case of tinnitus, many other methods can be used to minimize the condition's effects on your life by temporarily suppressing the agitating sounds. White noise machines, such as those that play the sounds of ocean waves or rolling thunder, can mask the ringing in your ears while you try to sleep or concentrate on work.
Although the symptoms of tinnitus cannot be completely cured for most people, medications -- such as tricyclic antidepressants -- have been shown to be successful in minimizing the effects of tinnitus for many who struggle with the condition.
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