January 22, 2009

Inner Ears Disorders That Cause Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a medical condition that affects a large number of people in the United States today. It is characterized by a constant, hissing, buzzing, screeching or ringing noise inside the inner ear. According to ear, nose and throat (ENT) physicians, there are a number of conditions that lead to the onset of this ailment; among these are work-related noise and inner ear disorders that cause tinnitus. There may even be cases where the exact cause of the ringing ears is never found.

Inner ear disorders that cause tinnitus are quite tough to treat, but then again there are ways to minimize the effects, as well as reduce the symptoms. One of these disorders is inner ear cell damage. Doctors note that the tiny and delicate hairs inside the ear move in relation to the pressure created by sound waves. The sound waves in turn trigger ear cells to release an electrical impulse, which runs through the auditory nerve and goes to the brain. The brain then interprets these signals or impulses as sound. Whenever these tiny and delicate hairs are broken or shaken, these may trigger the release of random electrical impulses to the brain, which lead to the annoying hissing or ringing in the ears. The excessive clumping of earwax may also lead to tinnitus.

Earwax essentially traps dirt and prevents it from entering the ear canal, and also slows down the growth of bacteria. But when too much earwax builds up, it then becomes too difficult to remove, which may lead to problems with hearing as well as tinnitus. Some stiffening or changes in the ear bones also contribute to the buzzing sounds. The stiffening of the middle ear bones, also called otosclerosis, is caused by abnormal bone growth. Non-cancerous benign tumors, such as acoustic neuroma, can also lead to the onset of buzzing and ringing in the inner ear. An acoustic neuroma usually grows or develops on the cranial nerve, which control balance and hearing. The cranial nerve runs from the brain straight to the inner ear. Meniere’s Disease is also a major inner ear disorder that leads to tinnitus.

Apart from inner ear disorders that cause tinnitus, other major factors that lead to the onset of the buzzing or whistling inside the ear include some chronic health disorders, as well injuries and other defects that impair the auditory nerves in the brain. Stress, depression and anxiety are also contributory factors that cause the incessant phantom whistling and buzzing noise in the inner ear.

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