Tinnitus Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Tinnitus Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. Someone with tinnitus disorder will hear sounds that are not caused by sound sources outside the human body.

Often this is subjective. That is, these sounds can only be heard by the sufferer. Although it is very rare, tinnitus can be objective, that is, sounds that arise can also be heard by people other than the sufferer.

Tinnitus Symptom

Sounds heard by tinnitus sufferers can be continuous or intermittent, in one or both ears, low or high pitched. Often people with tinnitus describe the sounds they hear as ringing sounds, but they can also be whistling, chirping, “clicking” sounds, squealing, whispering, rumbling, buzzing, throbbing, whirring, even musical.

This sound can fluctuate, sometimes loud sometimes soft. Not infrequently, the symptoms of tinnitus are felt more at night or when the surroundings are quiet. Tinnitus can be accompanied by complaints of hearing loss.

Tinnitus Reason

Subjective tinnitus is often caused by problems with the cochlea in the inner ear area. This is generally related to aging and exposure to loud noises over a long period of time.

Several types of drugs are also ototoxic and can cause damage to the inner ear. Examples are aspirin, ibuprofen, and some types of antibiotics. Some other possible causes are:

  • injuries to the head and neck
  • ear infection
  • foreign body or earwax touching the eardrum
  • problems in the middle ear (especially the Eustachian tube )
  • problems with the TMJ ( temporomandibular joint )
  • Stiffness of the bones in the middle ear
  • trauma to the brain

Objective tinnitus is generally caused by problems with the muscles or blood vessels in the head and neck area. An example is ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Objective tinnitus occurs in less than one percent of cases.

The risk of tinnitus may increase in certain people, such as:

  • exposed to loud noises, for example from work, watching a concert, using headphones, near an explosion site, and so on
  • smoke
  • have hearing loss
  • male genital
  • aged


Diseases that cause complaints of tinnitus are quite diverse. Therefore, tinnitus sufferers require a complete and in-depth evaluation so that doctors are assisted in determining the cause of the complaint.

Tinnitus often occurs together with hearing loss, so the doctor may ask questions about the hearing loss. Other things that may be related and need to be explored for information are the possibility of vertigo, ear pain, discharge from the ear, or disease of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Medical history, especially ototoxic ones, should also be considered.

Next, a thorough physical examination of the ears, head, neck, and chest is required, as well as an examination of hearing function. A complete blood count can be done to assess many things, including the possibility of syphilis.

In some cases, autoimmune tests and thyroid function tests may be needed. Meanwhile, imaging examinations with MRI can help look for tumors or blood vessel abnormalities that cause tinnitus.

Tinnitus Treatment

Tinnitus treatment depends on the cause. In general, if there is an ear infection it needs to be handled properly. Stop any medications, especially those that are ototoxic. Then, work on issues related to the TMJ.

In cases of lesions in the ear, surgery can be performed. Electrical stimulation of the inner ear using a cochlear implant is possible, but the results are mixed.

Reducing stress and anxiety in tinnitus sufferers can be useful. Often times the stress and anxiety that arise because of tinnitus is more disturbing than the tinnitus complaint itself.


To prevent tinnitus and hearing loss, you should avoid exposure to loud sounds by using ear protection in noisy environments. For example when operating a machine at work.

Also, avoid listening to songs that are too loud. Take good care of your body’s health through exercise, a healthy diet, adequate rest, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol. Although this cannot prevent tinnitus outright, or treat tinnitus that has already appeared, a healthy lifestyle can limit the intensity of tinnitus.

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