Tinnitus is a medical condition that causes ringing in the ears. It can be caused by many things, including age and stress. The most common sounds heard are high-pitched ringing, low-pitched humming, hissing or roaring sounds. The symptoms may be mild to severe and often interfere with daily life activities like work or sleep.
While there is no cure for it, there are various treatment options available that can help reduce the severity of your symptoms or even eliminate them altogether. The first step to addressing the symptoms is to first understand which type it falls under.
On a broad basis, it is generally classified into two categories: Subjective and Objective Tinnitus. However, there are a total of 5 types of tinnitus under these two categories which we will also discuss in greater detail.
This category is the most common among tinnitus sufferers and makes up 90% of the cases. In general, this is also the mildest form of this condition. This condition can be described as the perception of sound within the head, but not actually originating from inside the head. In simple terms, the ringing can only be heard by the sufferer.
Symptoms usually come on suddenly after exposure to some form of noise—although they may also appear and disappear at any moment without warning or pattern whatsoever. In some cases, they may last 3-12 months. In more serious cases, it may never go away.
1) Sensory/Neurological Tinnitus:
As the word suggests, this stems out from any disorder which affects the brain’s auditory functions. It could be a disorder which affects either the brain, or the ear receptors or even the signal between the ear and the brain. An example of such a disorder is the Meniere’s disease where fluid buildup in the inner ear disrupts the signals between the ear receptors and the brain.
2) Somatic Tinnitus:
This is typically diagnosed when a change in spine or jaw movements causes a change in the sound perceived by the sufferer. Hence, the issue is with the musculoskeletal system rather than at the ear.
3) Musical Tinnitus:
Known as musical hallucinations or auditory imagery, this type is less common. Generally, musical tinnitus occurs in people who have had hearing loss and tinnitus for a significant period of time, although people with better hearing or greater sensitivity to sound can also experience it.
4) Low-frequency Tinnitus:
This condition is perhaps the most confusing because sufferers don’t know whether the sound is internal or external. In most cases, the tones are described as humming, murmuring, rumbling, or deep droning sounds. Noises of this nature seem to have the most impact on people.
An involuntary muscle contraction or vascular deformity can cause this rare form of tinnitus. Usually, the sounds stops completely when the cause of it is treated. An outside observer will be able to hear this form of tinnitus. At the same time, it is the only type that has a chance of being permanently curbed.
5) Pulsatile tinnitus:
The sound of ringing in the ears that corresponds to the beat of the heart. The phenomenon generally occurs when blood flows to vessels near the ear or when the awareness of blood flow to the ear is increased.
As you can see, there are many different types of tinnitus and many ways that it could happen. We hope that this post has helped you get a better understanding! Do stay tuned for more value added content from our blog!