Types of Tinnitus: Understanding the Two Different Categories

Tinnitus is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by a ringing, buzzing, or humming sound in the ears, with no external source. There are two main types of tinnitus: subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is the most common form and is only audible to the person experiencing it. On the other hand, objective tinnitus can be heard by both the affected person and the examiner, as it is caused by a physical problem in the ear or surrounding structures. Let’s explore each type of tinnitus in more detail.

The Basics of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition that affects millions of people across the world. It is marked by a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears that can be continuous or intermittent. The sound may be low or high-pitched, and it may be heard in one or both ears. While tinnitus is not a serious medical condition, it can cause significant distress and affect a person’s quality of life.

There are two primary categories of tinnitus: subjective and objective. In this article, we will discuss each type in detail, along with their causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Subjective Tinnitus

Subjective tinnitus is the most common type of tinnitus, affecting up to 99% of all tinnitus cases. This type of tinnitus is only audible to the person experiencing it and cannot be heard by others.

Key takeaway: Tinnitus is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. There are two types of tinnitus, subjective and objective, and subjective tinnitus is the most common type. While there is no cure for subjective tinnitus, there are treatment options available to manage the symptoms, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, sound therapy, medications, and tinnitus retraining therapy.

Causes

Subjective tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Ear infections or injuries
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Ototoxic medications
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Stress and anxiety
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Symptoms

The symptoms of subjective tinnitus can vary from person to person. Some people may experience a low-level humming sound, while others may experience a high-pitched screeching noise. The sound may be continuous or intermittent and may be more noticeable in quiet environments.

Treatments

There is no cure for subjective tinnitus, but there are many treatments available to manage the symptoms. Some treatment options include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Sound therapy
  • Medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and anxiolytics
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is a rare form of tinnitus that can be heard by other people as well as the person experiencing it.

FAQs – Two Different Types of Tinnitus

What are the two different types of tinnitus?

The two different types of tinnitus are subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus is the most common type and occurs when you hear a sound that isn’t present in the surrounding environment, such as ringing, buzzing, or hissing. In contrast, objective tinnitus is a rare form that can be heard by other people in addition to the sufferer. It is caused by noises from within the body, such as blood flow or muscle contractions.

What causes subjective tinnitus?

Subjective tinnitus can be caused by a wide range of factors, including exposure to loud noises over a long period of time, infections or injuries to the ear, or certain medications. Additionally, many people may experience tinnitus as a symptom of age-related hearing loss or as a side effect of stress, anxiety, or depression.

How can subjective tinnitus be treated?

While there is no cure for subjective tinnitus, there are many treatment options available to help manage the symptoms. These may include the use of hearing aids or sound therapy, which use white noise or other sounds to mask the tinnitus, cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you learn to cope with the condition, or medications that may help reduce the severity of symptoms.

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What causes objective tinnitus?

Objective tinnitus is caused by noises within the body, such as blood flow or muscle contractions. In some cases, it can also be caused by a condition known as pulsatile tinnitus, which is characterized by a rhythmic sound that is synchronized with the heartbeat. Objective tinnitus can be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition, and it’s important to consult with a doctor to rule out any potential causes.

How is objective tinnitus treated?

Treatment options for objective tinnitus will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help treat an underlying medical condition, such as high blood pressure or anemia. In other cases, surgery may be necessary to correct a structural problem within the ear. In cases of pulsatile tinnitus, treatment may involve a combination of medication, surgery, or lifestyle changes aimed at reducing blood pressure or anxiety to help alleviate symptoms.