Always wondered what that annoying ringing is and why it’s happening?

Did you know that nearly 50 million Americans experience tinnitus, a condition that makes people perceive sound when there is actually no noise present? While ringing in the ears tends to be a common symptom of tinnitus, this condition can also produce hissing, clicking or buzzing sounds. If you are dealing with tinnitus, find out more about your condition and how our Columbia, SC ENT doctors can help you.

What causes tinnitus?

Long-term exposure to loud sounds is the main cause of tinnitus. In fact, it’s believed that as much as 90 percent of people suffering from tinnitus have some level of hearing loss. Loud sounds can cause irreversible damage to the inner ear, which is why musicians, pilots, and construction workers are often most at risk for developing tinnitus.

However, there are other conditions that can also cause tinnitus including:

  • An ear infection or earwax buildup
  • Taking certain medications such as antibiotics, aspirin, sedatives or quinine medications
  • A benign tumor of the auditory nerve (rare)
  • Natural aging
  • Having high blood pressure, heart disease, anemia, allergies, diabetes or hypothyroidism
  • TMJ disorder or other jaw problems
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Otosclerosis
  • Meniere’s disease

Sometimes alcohol consumption, smoking, caffeine or stress can also bring on a bout of tinnitus. This can even make the condition worse. Of course, it’s impossible to pinpoint the cause of your tinnitus without a proper medical exam. If you are experiencing ringing in the ears, then it’s time you saw one of our Ear, Nose and Throat doctors in Columbia, SC.

How do you treat this condition?

You will need to come in for an evaluation so we can first identify the cause of your condition. Depending on the direct cause, here are some treatment options that may improve your condition:

  • Removing impacted earwax
  • Treating vascular conditions through lifestyle changes, medication, or even surgery
  • Changing certain medication you are currently taking
  • Wearing a hearing aid
  • Using a white noise machine
  • Retraining your tinnitus with the help of a device that uses certain music to mask the sounds of tinnitus
  • Taking certain medications can be used to reduce symptom,s but won’t actually get rid of your tinnitus. These medications include certain antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications (e.g. Xanax)

Don’t let tinnitus drive you crazy! Call South Carolina ENT in Columbia to determine the root cause of your auditory problems and find a treatment plan that works for you.