Ringing in the ears, or tinnitis, is a common condition caused by a variety of sources, including exposure to loud or high-pithed noise, wax build-up or a blockage in the ear. Subjective tinnitis is most common, and is diagnosed by listening to the ear using special equipment. Objective tinnitis causes sounds that can be detected by the instrument and is caused by abnormalities in the blood vessels, muscle spasms, joint and jaw conditions and dysfunctions related to the auditory tube.
Subjective tinnitis can only be heard by the affected individual, and is caused by age, noise, stiffening of the bones within the ear, equilibrium disorders, Meniere’s syndrome, labyrinthitis, ear infection, tumors, drug reactions, vitamin deficiencies, high blood pressure, trauma, meningitis, multiple sclerosis (MS), lime disease, depression and certain food ingredients (such as caffeine and aspartame.)
Tinnitis may become persistent, which can interfere daily activities, functionality and sleep. Tinnitis is potentially disabling, causing psychological distress and incapacitation.
Auditory, neurological, dental and cardiovascular tests may be completed to secure a diagnosis and should be included in the patient’s long term disability claim documentation. Other tests that may be performed to diagnose Tinnitis include MRI, CT (middle ear), and XRay.
Treatment for Tinnitis begins with medical or surgical attention to the underlying cause, then treating the patient with therapy, life style modifications, and/or medication to repair damage caused by the condition. Physical and occupational therapy may also be ordered to improve physical capability and emotional distress.
Tinnitis can be therapy resitant and disability may be symptom-based and non-reversable (severe depression, hearing loss.)