Tinnitus is generally classified into either objective tinnitus or subjective tinnitus. The latter is more common. It is described as the tinnitus that cannot be heard by others, which means that only the sufferer can listen to the noise and sounds produced by tinnitus. Unlike the subjective type, objective tinnitus is very rare and is described as the type of tinnitus that other people can hear through the use of special device such as stethoscope that the doctor uses to diagnose the condition. Since it is often associated to serious medical conditions, this type of tinnitus is quite disturbing. Its prevalence accounts to only 3 percent of all tinnitus patients.
objective tinnitus is characterized by rhythmic, thumping, clicking, or low humming sounds, which are synchronized with the heartbeat or breathing. This is the reason why it is also referred to as the pulsatile tinnitus. Relief against this kind of tinnitus is therefore not only targeted to getting rid of the pulsing noise but also to getting rid of the underlying medical condition.
Objective tinnitus is said to be caused by two major factors. The first cause is the alteration of blood flow in the veins or arteries surrounding the ear area which may result into ear thumping sounds. The second cause is the increased sensitivity to the internal noise caused by the flow of blood in the ears, making a person susceptible to hearing sounds produced by this kind of tinnitus. In rare cases, objective or pulsatile tinnitus can signal a grave or very serious medical condition such as aneurysm. Thus, proper diagnosis is necessary in order to identify the root cause of the noise heard by the patient.
The clinical investigation of this condition involves analyzing the patient’s medical history to check for prior cardiovascular conditions. The doctor may suggest that the patient undergoes CT scan, magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), magnetic resonance scanning (MRI), angiography, and ultrasound. These tests and examinations show the images of blood flow and blood vessels thereby helping the doctor identify the main problem. The doctor may also do some blood tests to check if the patient has anemia.
The treatment methods for objective tinnitus depend on the root cause which must be treated immediately right after it has been identified. For instance, if hypertension is the main cause of tinnitus, the patient must take blood pressure lowering medications, change diet, and modify his/her lifestyle.
Patients suffering from pulsatile tinnitus should avoid the following:
• Sodium-rich diet
• Fat-rich diet
• Caffeine-rich beverages
Cholesterol and high fat have always been linked to atherosclerosis, one cause of pulsatile tinnitus. Therefore, they must be avoided. Salt increases the fluid retention in body tissues, causing the blood pressure to rise. Caffeine is a stimulant that elevates the heart rate and blood pressure. Alcohol can alter the fluid balance in the body, thereby causing imbalance in the inner ear fluid. Stress triggers tinnitus symptoms. It is important to manage anxiety and fatigue to prevent the tinnitus from becoming severe. Keep in mind that the path to acquiring relief against objective tinnitus also involves alternative remedies, relaxation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
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