Ringing, hissing, buzzing sound: WHAT IS THIS AND WHAT TO DO?
What is it?
Tinnitus is an individual sound perceived in the ears or head, especially in silence. It is a common symptom, which already affects 1 in 5 people in Brazil (22% of the population of São Paulo).
It rarely comes alone, but rather with some degree of hearing loss, dizziness or vertigo, intolerance to sounds (misophonia and/or hyperacusis), insomnia, lack of concentration, depression or anxiety, which contribute to impairing the quality of life.
What causes it?
There are several causes of tinnitus, and more than one cause can be present in the same person. Therefore, a careful medical evaluation is critical to define the diagnosis.
We are doctors. According to our clinical experience since 1994, tinnitus may be triggered by several disorders in different systems, such as:
– auditory (excessive noise, toxic medications, natural aging etc);
– digestive (metabolic problems with fasting, sweets, caffeine, gluten, lactose, and vitamin deficiencies);
– hormonal (hypothyroidism, menopause, andropause etc);
– psychiatric / psychological;
– muscular changes of the head and neck region.
It is also essential to clarify the characteristics of tinnitus (time, type, location, worsening/improving factors etc), the associated symptoms (hearing loss, dizziness, blocked ears, intolerance to sounds, anxiety, depression), the personal history and habits (occupation, exposure to noise, concomitant diseases, use of medications, bruxism, frequent pains, eating habits, use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs) and family illnesses.
Auditory exams are also required (Pure tone and Vocal Audiometry, High Frequency Audiometry, Acoustic immittance, Tinnitus Pitch and Loudness Matching, Loudness Discomfort Levels) as well as blood tests. It may be useful to have imaging tests in some cases (CT, MRI, Doppler).
How is it treated?
As there is no “magic formula” for all cases, our medical point of view is that the available treatment options should be individualized to each patient, that is, they should be chosen according to the direct potential of treating the causes that were identified in the initial evaluation.
Some of the options are: changing food habits, medications, sound therapies, hearing aid, psychotherapy, physiotherapy / chiropractic / osteopathy, etc.