Tinnitus Causes And Symptoms
It's not usually possible for other people to hear your tinnitus, even though, to you, it may seem incredibly loud. Medical professionals have no means of objectively determining whether or not a person can hear noises in his or her head or measuring how loud they are. Instead, they must rely on the information given to them by the person concerned. There is, however, one type of tinnitus – known as objective tinnitus – that can occasionally be heard by others. This type of tinnitus can be constant or periodic and it can be heard through a stethoscope placed on the head and neck structures near the ear.
Head noises that cannot be heard by other people – even by means of a stethoscope – are referred to as subjective. This type of tinnitus is far more common than objective tinnitus and is the main focus of this blog.
The causes of objective tinnitus are the following:
Abnormalities in the blood vessels and arteries around the outside of the ear
Abnormalities in the carotid artery, which carries blood to the head and neck, are the main cause of objective tinnitus, creating head noises that beat rhythmically in time with your pulse. These sounds are actually transmitted from arterial vessels close to the temporal bone (at the temples).
Such sounds will often change depending on activity, the position of the head and the application of pressure over the jugular vein. Individuals with this problem usually find that their tinnitus worsens at night.
In people with high blood pressure, the veins may actually be heard to hum.
Repeated rapid contractions (spasms) of the soft palate muscles can cause objective tinnitus. Such spasms may be related to a neurological disorder, such as a brainstem tumour, multiple sclerosis or obstruction of the blood supply to an organ or region of tissue, typically by a thrombosis or embolus (this is a blood clot, air bubble or piece of fatty tissue lodged in a blood vessel or artery).
Soft tissue spasms in the jaw
Injury to the head or neck can cause the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the jaw to go into spasm (tightly bound cramp) and make clicking, cracking and crunching sounds when you yawn or chew. In diseases such as fibromyalgia – in which many of the muscles, tendons and ligaments are in spasm and painful – the jaw muscles can spasm and create noises when they are being stretched.
Dysfunction of the Eustachian tube
When the Eustachian tube forms into branches – which occurs after drastic weight loss in some people – the result can be blowing sounds within the ear, which are simultaneous with breathing. Affected individuals may also have an abnormal awareness of their own voice, such as we all hear when we have a cold and our ears are blocked. A doctor may ask the individual to Iie down with his or her head in a particular position so that Valsalva's manoeuvre can be performed. This involves catheterizing the Eustachian tube via the mouth to drain it of mucus and allow it to open and close properly, causing the symptoms to disappear. Ask your doctor about this procedure if you suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms. To find out more, you can check out Tinnitus Causes And Symptoms.