Tinnitus can be identified by a continuous sound. Generally, this sound is only able to be heard by the person who is suffering from tinnitus. There are several ways in which tinnitus is identified and categorized.
- Limited tinnitus – By far the most common type of tinnitus, limited tinnitus is the short-term experience of tinnitus symptoms. While this expression of tinnitus often does not last over five minutes, it can last up to several days. This type of tinnitus should act as a warning sign to those experiencing it as it signifies that some level of hearing loss is likely occurring.
- Objective tinnitus – The only form of tinnitus which can be perceived by others is objective tinnitus. Those experiencing this kind of tinnitus need to be seen immediately by a medical professional, as outwardly perceivable tinnitus is a sign potentially serious problems with your inner ear or other health issues. Our hearing specialist can check you for objective tinnitus and refer you to the appropriate ear specialist if needed.
- Subjective tinnitus – Those dealing with continuous tinnitus have subjective tinnitus. The sound level at which the tinnitus is perceived by the individual is different for everyone experiencing tinnitus. However, many tinnitus treatments and management techniques can be adapted to suit this variability. Also, limited tinnitus can transition into subjective tinnitus, though not all people experience both kinds of tinnitus.
- Somatic tinnitus – This form of tinnitus is heavily tied to the individual’s sensory system. Some individuals have found neck pain can create a trigger for their tinnitus, while other experience tinnitus symptoms as their bodies receive signals from their neck, face, head, tongue, arms, trunk, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
As you can see, part of the difficulty in treating tinnitus lies in the ability of the hearing specialist to understand the individual’s perception of tinnitus.
Perception Of Tinnitus
While tinnitus can be simply defined as a continuous sound which is imperceptible to others, there is greater complexity to the issue. For one thing, it is possible to have unilateral (one-sided) tinnitus; however, bilateral (dual-sided) tinnitus is more common. Tinnitus can be expressed as a variety of different sounds such as ocean waves, hissing, buzzing, screeching, ringing, and other sounds. There are three ways to categorize how these tinnitus sounds express themselves:
- Pulsatile – The tinnitus sounds come in pulsing waves. These sound waves can often be found to beat in time with the individual’s heartbeat. Somatic tinnitus is often linked to pulsatile tinnitus perception.
- Tonal – Strongly linked to subjective tinnitus, the perception of tonal is experienced as near-continuous sound with defined frequencies. These frequencies can overlap but remain distinct and clear in their expression.
- Musical – Rarest of the tinnitus perceptions, an individual can perceive tinnitus as looping music or singing. Often, the musical tune remains the same.
Also, some may perceive more than one sound when it comes to their tinnitus. Instead of hearing a single type of disruptive frequency, the tinnitus sufferer may hear both a buzzing sound and a screeching sound or other sound combinations.
If you are interested in hearing tinnitus sample sounds, the American Tinnitus Association has compiled a variety of tinnitus sounds.
Impact Of Tinnitus
While tinnitus may be the butt of sitcom jokes, it can have a serious impact on the day-to-day lives of those who have to live with tinnitus. But, depending on the level the individual perceives tinnitus, the impact tinnitus has on their lives can be quite severe.
Tinnitus which is experienced at a moderate-to-severe level can often affect the sufferer’s mental and emotional well-being. Many experience depression, anxiety, frustration, rapid mood changes, and high irritability, as well as other symptoms.
- Around 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from tinnitus.
- Just under 12 million people in the United States have severe enough tinnitus that they require the help of a hearing specialist.
- There is no cure for tinnitus, only tinnitus management tools.
- High usage of earbuds and headphones has seen a leap of tinnitus in teenagers where one in five now have tinnitus.
- Anxiety and stress often contribute to worsening tinnitus symptoms.
- Men are more prone to experiencing tinnitus than women.
Visit Modern Hearing Solutions For Tinnitus Help
- Hearing aids
- Tinnitus treatment counseling
- Stress and anxiety management techniques
To start managing your tinnitus symptoms today, contact us to set up an appointment with our hearing specialist.