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Tinnitus of unknown cause

Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking or hissing sound in your ears? Do you hear this sound often or all the time? Does the sound bother you? If you answer is yes, you might have tinnitus.

Millions of people in the U.S. have tinnitus. People with severe tinnitus may have trouble hearing, working or even sleeping. Causes of tinnitus include hearing loss, exposure to loud noises or medicines you may be taking for a different problem. Tinnitus may also be a symptom of other health problems, such as allergies, high or low blood pressure, tumors and problems in the heart, blood vessels, jaw and neck.

Treatment depends on the cause. Treatments may include hearing aids, sound-masking devices, medicines and ways to learn how to cope with the noise.

NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Source: MedlinePlus

What are the symptoms?

Within all the people who go to their doctor with tinnitus of unknown cause, 91% report having ringing in ear, 69% report having diminished hearing, and 60% report having dizziness. The symptoms that are highly suggestive of tinnitus of unknown cause are ringing in ear, diminished hearing, plugged feeling in ear, and itchy ear(s), although you may still have tinnitus of unknown cause without those symptoms.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with tinnitus of unknown cause often receive ophthalmologic and otologic diagnosis and treatment, magnetic resonance imaging, other therapeutic ear procedures, other physical therapy and rehabilitation, diagnostic procedures on ear, diagnostic procedures on nose; mouth and pharynx, other or therapeutic nervous system procedures and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy; biopsy .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with tinnitus of unknown cause include azelastine nasal, salmeterol, levocetirizine (xyzal), ginkgo biloba extract (ginkgo), iodoquinol, benzalkonium chloride topical, aluminum sulfate-calcium acetate topical, magnesium chloride, dexamethasone ophthalmic, acetaminophen / butalbital, ciclesonide nasal, almotriptan (axert) and mineral oil (stye) .

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for tinnitus of unknown cause include race/ethnicity = other age 60-74 years. On the other hand, age 1-4 years almost never get tinnitus of unknown cause.

Age

< 1 years
0.1x
1-4 years
0.0x
5-14 years
0.3x
15-29 years
0.3x
30-44 years
0.9x
45-59 years
1.4x
60-74 years
2.2x
75+ years
1.5x

Sex

Male
1.0x
Female
1.0x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
0.7x
Hispanic
0.9x
White
1.0x
Other
1.8x
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