Tinnitus Symptoms

Written by : James Davis

February 11, 2021

Last update : January 25, 2022

7 Different Forms of Tinnitus and Common Symptoms

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Suffering from tinnitus is quite common nowadays. The perception of ringing or noise in the ears can be quite annoying and at times terrifying, as well.

Tinnitus affects about 15-20% of people worldwide. However, what most people fail to understand is the fact that tinnitus is not a medical condition by itself. In fact, it’s a symptom associated with different underlying conditions, including ear injury or age-related hearing loss.

So, what are the different forms of this annoying type of buzzing, and what other symptoms may appear during a tinnitus crisis?

7 Different forms of tinnitus

Tinnitus derives from the Latin word tinnire for ringing. Suffering from this condition usually means that you have to endure a buzzing, whistling, or hissing. The actual noise may vary in volume, and it can appear in only one or both ears. In some cases, you may feel like the noise comes from the inside of your head. In fact, people can rarely depict the exact location of this condition.

Whether you hear the buzzing as a single noise or as multiple components, the result remains annoying.

Although tinnitus is quite common, there are different types of this condition. If you find yourself suffering from this condition, then you will normally fall within one of the following categories.

Subjective tinnitus

It is the most common type of this condition. Commonly caused after you have been exposed to a loud voice, subjective tinnitus is something only you can hear. This type of tinnitus can also, be caused by ear problems in your outer, middle or inner ear. Another common source of this problem is some type of dysfunction within your auditory nerves or auditory pathways.

That being said, people may suffer from subjective tinnitus if there is some issue in the part of the brain responsible for interpreting the real nerve signals as sound.

Subjective tinnitus may vary in length and intensity. It is quite annoying for most people since the extra sound overtakes other relevant sounds in the nearby environment. Therefore, it is quite difficult for people to focus on the sounds that really matter.

Thankfully, this type of tinnitus is not quite severe and can be treated in several ways, like with the help of hearing aids playing calming music. That can distract you from the whole ringing or buzzing that occurs within your head during a tinnitus crisis.

A surprising fact about subjective tinnitus is that it can be permanent or disappear all of a sudden. In some cases, it can last for about three to twelve months and then appear once again after some years.

Objective tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is the rarest type of tinnitus and most threatening, as well.

Although it is less common compared to subjective tinnitus, this form of tinnitus has usually an identifiable cause and therefore, it is easier to cure.

On the other hand, subjective tinnitus is usually idiopathic and thus more difficult to deal with properly.

In the objective tinnitus an external observer, usually, a doctor will be able to hear the buzzing with the use of a stethoscope.

The causes of this type of tinnitus are usually quite severe and include blood vessel problems, sudden muscle contractions, or middle ear bone condition. In each case, if you are diagnosed with this type of tinnitus, then you should consult a specialist as soon as possible. In fact, this type of tinnitus can only be diagnosed by a specified medical doctor during an examination.

The Ear and Tinnitus

Pulsatile tinnitus

Pulsatile tinnitus -as the name itself suggests- is a rhythmical noise that usually accompanies the heart rate. In fact, if you suffer from this condition, you will feel your pulse at exactly the same time you listen to the tinnitus.

In most cases, the main cause of pulsatile tinnitus is a change in the blood flow near the ears. As you may well understand, blood that flows more quickly than usual makes more noise compared to blood that’s flowing slowly. During pregnancy or extreme exercise, your body may increase the blood flow towards the ears and result in your listening to all this buzzing caused by pulsatile tinnitus.

Musical tinnitus

If you find yourself hearing music when none is played nearby, then you may be suffering from musical tinnitus, otherwise known as musical hallucination.

Typically, the sounds are heard as short fragments of simple melodies, including hymns and carols. Although musical tinnitus is more common among older people, over 60 years old, in fact, everyone can experience this condition at some point in their lifetime. The weird thing about this type of tinnitus is that there is no specific underlying cause.

Although some serious health issues, including brain tumors, may be associated with this type of tinnitus, in most cases no particular medical reason hides behind this problem.

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Somatic tinnitus

This form of tinnitus is the so-called somatic tinnitus. As the name implies, this type is closely related to physical movements. Whatever results in your neck twisting may lead to the appearance of this type of tinnitus.

For example, bad posture during your night sleep or an inconvenient pillow are common causes of this form of buzzing. Apart from those causes, dental issues, like impacted teeth or popping of the jaw may also, result in the appearance of somatic tinnitus.

In most cases, sound therapy can help in dealing with this issue permanently. Massage therapy in the broader area of both the face and neck can also, help a lot.

Neurological tinnitus

Another rare type of tinnitus that’s closely related to the malfunctioning of the nervous system is called neurological tinnitus.

In this form, you may experience feelings of buzzing, ringing, or clicking accompanied by other symptoms that are common of diseases, like Meniere’s disease. That health condition is usually related to the brain’s auditory function and should be immediately dealt with by a professional doctor.

Low-frequency tinnitus

Rare and confusing, as well, this type of tinnitus is related to individuals who are not aware of whether the sound they hear is being produced externally or internally. Sufferers usually describe the sound they hear as murmuring, humbling, and humming. In most cases, low-frequency tinnitus is caused by listening to strong but low-pitched noises for a long time.

Although there are different forms of tinnitus, there are certain symptoms common for all the types. Let’s have a look.

Different Forms of Tinnitus

Common symptoms of tinnitus

The most common tinnitus symptoms are the following: buzzing, ringing, hissing, humming, whooshing, throbbing, and clicking. Those symptoms can vary in intensity and volume.

Some other people have described hearing other sounds, including pulsing, static, ocean waves, dial tones, and music.

Tinnitus may come and go and the noise you hear may be low or relatively high-pitched. In some cases, the intensity of the buzzing or ringing in the ears may cause the person to have difficulty in focusing on other sounds of his environment. Particularly under those conditions, it is vital that you seek the advice of a specialist.

Although tinnitus is usually short-lived and occurs after exposure to loud noises, for example after going to a loud concert, there is always the case of chronic tinnitus. That occurs when you suffer from this condition for over 6 months. Since tinnitus is strongly related to hearing loss, developing chronic tinnitus is more common among older people, over 50 years old. The symptoms associated with chronic tinnitus are typically the same. However, they can get even worse over time. In almost 10% of cases, the condition seriously affects the everyday life of individuals and therefore, immediate professional advice is needed.

In some cases, other symptoms may accompany the noises related to tinnitus.

If the ringing or buzzing you experience is accompanied by pain from the ear then you should look for some type of ear infection. If, on the other hand, you experience dizziness, then some minor neurological problems may be present. It is also, more noticeable during extremely quiet places or at night. In such cases, you should look for medical health immediately.

There is evidence that tinnitus can lead to individuals feeling stressed and anxious. Many of those suffering from tinnitus are hypersensitive and can develop further symptoms, like insomnia and increased anxiety.

In Conclusion

Tinnitus is a symptom by itself that affects lots of individuals nowadays.

The causes of this condition are different and in some cases, an underlying medical issue may be the real cause.

However, in almost every case, tinnitus itself poses no serious danger. It is just a bit annoying and can affect the everyday life and habits of individuals. That is why dealing with it is necessary and seeking out the advice of an expert is always preferable.

Identifying the symptoms and signs of tinnitus and the specific form of it can really help you get over this annoying conditions once and for all. Particularly if you find yourself suffering from strong buzzing or ringing in the ears all of a sudden without obvious reason, you should seek advice as soon as possible.

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