Tinnitus, the condition that involves hearing a high-pitched noise that does not come from an external source of sound, can be categorized in several different types based on the triggers and the contributive factors that led to the appearance of the symptoms; in what follows, we would like to present the four basic types of tinnitus to offer you a broad outline of the condition and maybe some clue about what may cause your symptoms.
The Four Types of Tinnitus
- Subjective Tinnitus – This is probably the most common type, accounting for more than 95% of all tinnitus cases. It is most often caused by exposure to acoustic trauma, either to a sudden burst or to an environment with very high noise levels. The symptoms may last between 3 months and 1 year, after which they will disappear if the damage to the hearing nerve is healed or they may become permanent if the healing process is unsuccessful.
- Objective Tinnitus – Caused by some other underlying condition such as a cardiovascular disease, allergies or diabetes, objective tinnitus is usually cured along with the disease that causes it.
- Neurological Tinnitus – This type is caused by some kind of disease that affects the nervous system. The most common such conditions is Meniere’s disease, an illness that affects the inner ear. If tinnitus is caused by Meniere’s, the patient will probably have other symptoms, such as vertigo, balance problems and dizziness as well. Currently, there is no known cure for Meniere’s, but the symptoms are manageable with medication.
- Somatic Tinnitus – This type is caused by the increased muscular tension in the neck and the jaws. One of the characteristics that distinguish this type from the others is that the patients are able to alter the intensity of the ringing experienced by performing certain movements with the head, the jaw, and even with the yes. Pressure on the temple or the cheeks may also alter the ringing.
As you see, tinnitus can be a symptom on its own or it can be indicative of other illnesses. Ask your doctor to test you for all the possible types of tinnitus because, this way, you can not only find out what causes your symptoms, but you will also be able to have any underlying condition treated and cured.