Tinnitus – What are the Different Types?

Although tinnitus is a very common condition, everyone’s is slightly different. There are different types of tinnitus, and it’s likely yours will fall within one of these categories.

Subjective

This is the most common type of tinnitus, and it is often caused by exposure to loud noise. It is something only you can hear. It can come and go, and can vary in length and intensity. It is a struggle for many people as the sound overtakes other relevant sounds in the environment making it difficult to focus on what’s important to you.
Subjective tinnitus is usually treated with hearing aids that play a calming noise, distracting you from the ringing, buzzing or other sounds that are experienced with this.

Sensory

Most people who experience tinnitus, have sensory tinnitus. This is typically a side effect of an impaired auditory system. To date, there is no known cure.  Using an established sound management program can help manage it and reduce its negative effects.
Sensory tinnitus is actually a form of subjective tinnitus. It’s usually caused by various disorders that affect the way the brain processes sound. You may feel and off-balance if you have this.

Somatic

Somatic tinnitus is typically related to physical movement and touch. It can be generated by muscle spasms in the ear or neck, and by other mechanical sources. Although sound therapy can be used for this, often times other management techniques, such as massage therapy can also be helpful.

Anything that causes the neck to twist, such as a pillow or turning the neck to look into a microscope, can be the source. Dental problems such as impacted wisdom teeth and popping of the jaw can also create this.

Somatic tinnitus is also referred to as conductive, meaning it is caused by more outer functions, rather than sensory/neurological causes. Sometimes mechanical causes of tinnitus can be heard by others.

Objective

This is one of the rarest types of tinnitus. It is the only type that can be heard by an outside observer, usually with a stethoscope. It often moves in time with the heartbeat.

If you think that you or any of your loved ones have ringing in the ears or hearing loss, call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™  at 772-286-4327 to schedule a free hearing evaluation with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.

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