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When Is Tinnitus Dangerous?

By Randi Morse

There are a number of health topics people discuss regularly, but there are just as many that are never talked about. I was reminded of this recently when my mother contacted me to tell me that she'd been dealing with ringing in her ears and serious dizziness. We were very fortunate that she was diagnosed with loose inner ear crystals, but it got me to thinking about all of the different ear conditions we never talk about. 


One of the most common ear conditions is tinnitus. Tinnitus is the generic term that doctors use to describe a ringing in the ear. It's a condition that is fairly common, with doctors estimating that around 15 percent of people will deal with tinnitus at some point in their life. While ringing is the most common sound, there are other descriptions people often use to describe the noise in their ears, including:

  • Wooshing
  • Pulsing
  • Buzzing
  • Screeching

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be caused by a wide array of conditions and health situations, but the good news is that the majority of the time tinnitus is not medically serious. It can be very frustrating and anxiety-producing, especially if it goes on for a few days, but often the symptoms indicate a benign condition. 

When to Be Concerned

Because tinnitus is generally a benign condition, it can be difficult to know when you should be worried about ringing in your ears. Tinnitus is broken down into two types: non-pulsatile and pulsatile. People experiencing pulsatile tinnitus generally hear a sound like a heartbeat in their ears. They may describe feeling a pulsing in their head as well. The heartbeat sound is generally caused by blood flow near the ear. If you are experiencing pulsatile tinnitus for a few days, it's a good idea to speak with your physician. 

Non-pulsatile tinnitus tends to be more common. It's the type of tinnitus that causes a ringing in the ears and is often benign. If you experience ringing in your ears and your doctor is unable to find a cause, you will be diagnosed simply with tinnitus. 

As always, if you are worried about the state of your health do not hesitate to speak with your physician. But you can rest comfortably in knowing that tinnitus, while annoying, is generally nothing to worry about.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Amarillo, Tex.

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