Richard Ruiz, MD
Otolaryngology & A Private Medical Practice located in Temecula, CA
Ringing in your ears, also known as tinnitus, is more common than you may realize, affecting 10-15% of adults. Depending on the severity of the noise, ringing in the ears can have a significant impact on your ability to have a conversation or get a good night’s sleep. If you experience frequent tinnitus, Richard Ruiz M.D., Inc. encourages you to come in for an evaluation and customized treatment. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Temecula, California or book online.
Ringing in the Ears Q & A
What is ringing in the ears?
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is defined as hearing a noise when there’s no external sound causing the noise. Tinnitus isn’t really a medical condition; it’s a symptom that develops due to some other underlying problem. In most cases, it’s not a sign of a serious issue.
What other sounds might I hear when I have ringing in my ears?
Tinnitus causes a variety of phantom noises in your ears, including:
In addition to variable noises, tinnitus has different characteristics. The pitch varies from a low roar to a high screech, you may hear the sound in one or both ears, and the noise may be a constant presence or come and go.
Many patients find that the noise is loud enough to interfere with their ability to concentrate. Sometimes, it blocks out sounds they want to hear, like the television or another person talking.
What causes ringing in the ears?
There are two types of tinnitus: primary and secondary. When you have primary tinnitus, you have the symptoms but no other obvious physical cause.
Secondary tinnitus occurs when the sounds you hear are caused by an identifiable underlying problem, such as:
- Wax buildup
- Age-related hearing loss
- Pressure on your eardrum
- Ear nerve conditions
- Meniere’s disease
- Exposure to loud noises
- Abnormal bone changes
When you’re exposed to long-term loud noises, such as heavy equipment on the job, you may develop chronic tinnitus and permanent hearing loss. Short exposure to loud noises, such as going to a concert, usually cause temporary tinnitus.
How is tinnitus treated?
Dr. Ruiz completes a thorough exam, which includes reviewing your medical history, examining your ears, and learning about the type of sound you hear, which may help determine the underlying cause. If he suspects hearing loss or an ear condition, Dr. Ruiz performs audiologic testing.
Depending on what causes the noise, treatment for tinnitus may include any of the following:
- Ear cleaning
- Changing existing medications
- Prescribing medications that may reduce the severity of the noise
- Treatment for a vascular condition
- Noise suppression
Some patients find that white noise helps suppress tinnitus. You might try a fan, air conditioner, or white noise machine that simulates environmental sounds. Dr. Ruiz may prescribe a masking device, which is worn like a hearing aid but produces low-level white noise.
To get help with ringing in your ears, call Richard Ruiz M.D., Inc. or book an appointment online.