In this Youtube video and in this health and wellness blog post, you will find:
- The definition of tinnitus
- The different parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear
- The causes of tinnitus
- What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
- Does the tinnitus go away?
- Is it serious to have tinnitus?
- What to do about tinnitus?
The definition of tinnitus:
Tinnitus is sounds heard by the person without an external cause.
This problem affects more often the elderly, but it can also affect younger people.
The different parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear
I make a small recall, our ears are made up of 3 principal parts which have very specific roles:
The external ear is formed by the pavilion (also called auricle, it is the structure of the ear that we see) and the auditory canal (tube composed by glands which produce and release the cerumen, yellowish substance which has for function to protect our ears by clearing them of residues), this canal leads
to the eardrum which belongs to the second part of the ear, the middle ear
The middle ear is formed by the eardrum (membrane that has a cavity filled with air) and small bones called bones, these are the smallest bones in our body, there are 3: the hammer or malleus, the anvil or incus and the stapes
The inner ear or labyrinth is composed of the semicircular canals and the cochlea (a structure made up of different cells called receptor cells or hair cells, it is connected to the auditory nerve which sends information to the brain
After the eardrum, the auditory canal leads to a channel called the Eustachian tube, which connects the ear to the back of the nose.
When a sound arrives, it enters through our outer ear, then it passes through the ear canal and reaches the eardrum to make it vibrate.
Then, the sound is amplified at the level of the middle ear thanks to the bones, it reaches then the internal ear and more particularly the cells of the cochlea which make it possible to transform the sound vibrations into nervous signals to be transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve.
It is important to know that our ears have 2 functions: hearing, which allows us to hear and listen, and balance.
Indeed, our ears intervene in the position of our body and our movements in the space where it is. This function is provided by the inner ear.
The causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus is generally due to an alteration of certain cells in the inner ear because of a too noisy sound or the aging of these cells.
Tinnitus can also occur due to infection, otitis (inflammation), high blood pressure, certain medications, earwax or poor blood circulation in the arteries of the neck.
The affected cells send a signal to the brain on their own in addition to the signals coming from outside, even when there is no external noise.
As the brain cannot distinguish between the interfering sounds and the real external sound, it interprets both sounds at the same time.
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What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
Tinnitus results in the presence of various noises such as whistling, buzzing, groaning, crackling, ...
Does the tinnitus disappear?
Tinnitus can appear from time to time and disappear by itself, but it can also be present throughout the day. This can be very annoying for the person who suffers from it and can lead to certain complications such as sleep disorders, confusion, concentration problems, stress and/or aggressiveness.
Tinnitus may also be accompanied by hearing loss.
Is it serious to have tinnitus?
Tinnitus most often appears after a significant exposure of the ears to a noisy environment (concert, loud music in the headphones, ...)
I would like to point out that the lesions triggered by these noises are irreversible, i.e. they last for the whole life of the person, hence the importance of protecting your ears and really lowering the sound to the maximum in your helmet and headphones.
Listening to loud sounds in adolescence can lead to accelerated aging of the cells involved in hearing and cause early deafness.
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Que faire en cas d'acouphènes ?
Pour limiter les acouphènes, il est conseillé de réduire le stress, avec de la relaxation. En effet, les acouphènes peuvent s’amplifier dans des situations stressantes.
Il est aussi conseillé de se placer dans un endroit calme et d'écouter des sons apaisants (musique douce, ...) pour recouvrir en quelque sorte les acouphènes.
J’attire votre attention sur le fait que l’apparition d’acouphène associé à une baisse d’audition, des vertiges, des maux de tête, une perte d'équilibre, des douleurs au niveau de l’oreille doit être pris en charge par un médecin, de même si l'acouphène ne disparaît pas au bout de quelques jours.
Le médecin va faire des investigations pour trouver la cause des acouphènes et voir s’il y a une baisse d'audition grâce à des examens bien spécifiques réalisés chez un médecin spécialiste (ORL). Il peut aussi demander au patient de faire un scanner ou une IRM afin de poser un diagnostic.
Les traitements des acouphènes sont mis en place en fonction de la cause.
S’il s’agit d’acouphène dus à une otite ou un bouchon de cérumen, les traitements permettent d’y remédier.
Par contre, pour les acouphènes sans cause remédiable, des thérapies peuvent être mises en place pour mieux les acceptés et soulager les désagréments.
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These therapies are: sound therapy, sophrology and hypnosis.
Wearing a hearing aid in case of tinnitus associated with a decrease in hearing can in some cases limit the appearance of tinnitus.
I would like to point out that there are no medications that have been proven to be effective in reducing tinnitus. Some medications have been used for this purpose, but as their benefits were less than their potential side effects, they stopped being prescribed.
Dr Noura Marrai (Doctor of Pharmacy, YouTuber Health, creator of the health well-being Pharmaquiz application),
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