Tinnitus is a common hearing condition, affecting almost 15% of adults or about 1 in 5 people. It is commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears”, but the sound can also be described in a number of ways like the sound of hissing, screeching, whooshing, pulsing, or buzzing.
Although Tinnitus is pretty common, there are different types. If you are suffering from this hearing condition, there’s a good chance that your Tinnitus falls under one of these categories.
4 Types of Tinnitus
The most common type of tinnitus is called subjective tinnitus. Typically caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise, it is something only you can hear.
One of its telltale signs is that the ringing sound can vary in length and intensity when it occurs. People with subjective tinnitus may experience discomfort as the sound overtakes other relevant sounds in their surroundings, makit it hard to focus on what’s important to them at any given moment.
Subjective tinnitus is commonly treated with hearing aids that play a calming noise that helps you pay more attention to environmental sounds, instead of the ringing, hissing and other sounds that comes with the condition.
One of the most common types of tinnitus is sensory tinnitus. This hearing impairment is typically a side effect of an impaired auditory system. There is no cure for neurological tinnitus but people who experience it may use an established tinnitus management program to manage its negative side effects.
In a nutshell, neurological tinnitus is a type of subjective Tinnitus and is usually caused by various disorders like Meniere’s disease that affect the way the brain processes sound.
Related to physical movement and touch, Somatic tinnitus is another type of Tinnitus that many experiences. It can be a result of muscle spasms in the ear or neck. Typically, sound therapy can be used for somatic tinnitus, and sometimes massage therapy can also be helpful to alleviate the symptoms.
Somatic tinnitus can be triggered by everyday physical movements such as a pillow or turning the neck to look into a microscope can cause tinnitus.
Sometimes, dental problems can also trigger the ringing in the ears. Impacted wisdom teeth and popping of the haw can also create somatic tinnitus.
Somatic tinnitus is also called conductive tinnitus, meaning it is caused by outer functions, rather than physiological causes.
It is caused by the ability to hear muscle contractions or vascular deformities. It is possible to be permanently fixed if the origin of the contractions are deformities.
These four types of tinnitus do not have an easy cure, but there’s a handful of ways to manage the symptoms. Medications and surgery can help if the cause of the Tinnitus is a side effect of the disease or a deformity. However, the most common management techniques include behavioral therapy, massage therapy, and sound-generating devices such as hearing aids.
People who suffer from Tinnitus, regardless of the type, can alleviate the symptoms with the following treatment options for Tinnitus.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Using sound distractions to alleviate focus on noises.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: It involves two components – educational training and sound therapy. TRT is an intensive therapy aimed at long-lasting effects.
Masking: Using noise to distract the ringing or buzzing sound in the ear.
Biofeedback: Training your body to control internal aspects.
If you believe you are suffering from Tinnitus, seeking professional help to determine the exact type of Tinnitus you might have.