What are the Causes and Symptoms of Tinnitus – Levo Medical

female african american audiologist pointing to the ear canal on a model

What Is Tinnitus?

Pronunciations: [tin-NIGHT-us or TIN-it-us]

Sometimes called an auditory hallucination, tinnitus is the perception of a sound within one (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral) when no actual sound is present.

Contrary to popular belief, tinnitus is not a disease or an illness—instead, it’s a condition caused by a combination of inner ear damage and the brain’s inability to process sound correctly. It occurs because of a mental or physical change that’s not necessarily related to hearing.

How Tinnitus Affects The Hearing Pathway

  1. Auditory Nerve: Also known as the superhighway of sound, the auditory nerve carries sound frequencies from the cochlea through multiple areas in the brain.
  2. Brainstem: Similar to a traffic director, the brainstem sorts through millions of neural messages between the body and brain to make sure they get to the right places.
  3. Limbic System: Sound is sent to other parts of the brain through the limbic system, which is the place where emotions and memories begin to form.
  4. Auditory Cortex: Frequencies sent from the cochlea are given meaning in the auditory cortex. Once identified, the auditory cortex processes the information and lets the rest of the brain know how to respond.
hearing pathway image

Types of Tinnitus

Subjective Tinnitus

This is the most common form of tinnitus and it is only something that you can hear. This type of tinnitus can come and go, and the intensity and duration of the ringing of your ears can vary, making it subjective and unique to you.

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus is one of the rarest types of tinnitus and can only be heard by another person, like an audiologist using a stethoscope. Additionally, objective tinnitus tends to move in sync with the heartbeat.

Sensory Tinnitus

Sensory tinnitus is usually experienced by all individuals suffering from any type of tinnitus, and is usually a side effect of an impaired auditory system. With sensory tinnitus, you may also experience loss of balance from time to time.

Somatic Tinnitus

Somatic tinnitus is a type of tinnitus that typically occurs with physical movement and/or touch. Movements to your neck or ear such as a sudden tilt of the head or extreme pressure of your ear on the pillow can exacerbate the feelings of somatic tinnitus.

slightly older female audiologist teaching a male caucasian patient to use sound therapy for tinnitus

How Common is Tinnitus?

Almost everyone has experienced tinnitus for short periods of time in their lives. If you’ve ever attended a concert where you were exposed to loud music, it may have caused short term tinnitus and ringing of your ears that eventually went away. On the other hand, tinnitus can be a more serious, long-lasting condition that lasts for weeks, months, or even years.

Today, tinnitus affects one in five people and disturbs their regular day-to-day lives, causing challenges and discomfort. In the United States alone, it affects approximately 50 to 60 million people and is especially common in males over the age of 55 and in veterans. In fact, it is the leading service-connected disability for veterans.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Up to 85% of all individuals who have tinnitus also have some level of hearing loss. Those in professions that work with loud devices and tools such as construction workers, carpenters, musicians, and street repair workers may be at higher risk of getting tinnitus.

There can be several causes of tinnitus including but not limited to:

  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Certain medications
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Head or Neck Injury
  • Natural aging process
  • Jaw or TMJ Disorders
  • Hearing Loss
  • Earwax Buildup
  • Benign tumor of auditory nerve

Symptoms of Tinnitus

In the same way that no two people have identical fingerprints, no two people have the same tinnitus sound. For example, your sound could be any one, or a combination of these noises:

  • Beeping
  • Crickets
  • Locusts
  • Roaring
  • Tickling
  • Whining
  • Buzzing
  • Hissing
  • Pure Tone
  • Sizzling
  • Tree Frogs
  • Whistling
  • Clicking
  • Humming
  • Ringing
  • Songs
  • Tunes
  • Whooshing

In addition, people suffering from tinnitus may also experience other undesirable symptoms such as:

  • Stress
  • Memory Problems
  • Distraction
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia/Sleep Disturbance
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

The Levo System uses a unique sound match that is personalized to each patient’s sound print to help you manage your tinnitus symptoms and take control of your life.

Published studies have shown that patients who used the Levo System saw a reduction in tinnitus intensity and had improved sleep quality. In several instances, there were patients who really benefited from the Levo System and even experienced periods of silence.

female holding a ipad looking at data

How to Prevent Tinnitus From Getting Worse?

Since tinnitus cases vary from person to person, the first step in managing your tinnitus is to speak to a qualified audiologist who can help determine the cause of your tinnitus and work with you to provide suitable options to help manage your symptoms.

female with strawberry blonde hair looking at her iphone during sound match therapy

As with any therapy, there are keys to a successful outcome.

  • Motivation and commitment. This is a nightly therapy that can be easily integrated with your typical nighttime routine. The recommended course of therapy using the Levo System is at least three months.
  • Your Sound Match (therapy) should replicate your perception of your tinnitus sound as precisely as possible.
  • You should be able to hear your Sound Match without any amplification.

Get Tinnitus Relief with The Levo System

Every tinnitus case is unique and may seem impossible to get better, but it’s possible and you don’t have to manage it alone. Unlike other sound relief generators on the market, the Levo System is the only therapy solution specifically designed for use during sleep, a time when the brain is most responsive to habituation. Additionally, it is an FDA-cleared medical device that uses a patented sound matching method to identify the full and unique tinnitus sound for you, and tracks your progress using smart technology so you can ensure that your tinnitus is being properly managed.

The term “learn to live with it” is not an acceptable solution. A consultation with your primary healthcare provider is recommended as the first step in managing your tinnitus to rule out a more serious health condition.

We currently partner with audiologists and healthcare providers across the United States.

Find out if the Levo System is right for you. Connect with a Levo Provider today

I am…

I am looking for…

FREE Tinnitus Relief Quiz