Sight, smell, hearing … our senses have been designed by evolution as means of knowing more and better all that surrounds us.
However, sometimes complications can arise and cause certain components of our senses to turn against us, causing discomfort instead of informing us of what is going on around us. The phenomenon known as tinnitus, or tinnitus, is an example of this..
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus or tinnitus is an alteration in our perception that causes us to hear a hissing or buzzing sound (Although it can be described in many alternate ways), it is not produced by something that is happening outside of our body. This intrusive sound may be more or less constant or appear in the form of waves or “beats”, and may be noticed in one direction, in both, or as coming from inside the head.
Tinnitus can appear transiently after experiencing loud sound that has damaged cells in the auditory system, but in other cases it becomes chronic, occurring for several minutes at least twice a week. Tinnitus can vary in intensity and frequency of occurrence, and in many cases can become so intense that it is difficult to feel what is really going on outside of the body. For this reason, it is not uncommon for tinnitus, although it is only a symptom, to promote the onset of anxiety or depressive disorders, while reducing the ability to concentrate.
Types of tinnitus
There are two main types of tinnitus: objective and subjective.
This type of tinnitus can be heard not only by the person experiencing it, but also by specialists. using the appropriate scanning instruments. It is caused by vascular alterations or muscle spasms that cause abnormal movements of parts of the inner ear.
This is the most common type of tinnitus and can only be heard by the person experiencing it.. Although it is considered the most common form of tinnitus, its diagnosis is more complicated than with target tinnitus.
Causes of tinnitus
It is believed that subjective tinnitus can be caused by several alterations, many of which have to do with blockage of hair cells in the cochlea’s spiral organ, Which are the ones that transform air vibrations into nerve signals that travel through neurons.
When these cells, similar to microscopic hairs, remain in abnormal “contact”, they send a pattern of electrical signals to the brain that is intrusive and does not vary with changes occurring outside. In this way, the signal from the auditory system becomes constant and chronic. For this reason, the treatment of chronic tinnitus cases focuses on alleviating the indirect problems arising from experiencing this intrusive sound.
Treatment of the symptom with psychotherapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common approaches to alleviating the harmful and disabling effects of chronic tinnitus. Through this form of therapy, patients are trained to learn to take advantage of the influence of certain actions and thoughts on how they experience tinnitus.
This way, patients learn not to become obsessed with questions about the possible negative course of tinnitusThey take their attention away from the influence of this symptom, they stop giving importance to unpleasant and unfounded beliefs, and they work on their self-esteem. In the event that the sound of tinnitus has been associated with a negative idea, work is also being done to break down this connection between the ideas or beliefs.
The idea is to make the tinnitus stop being a stressor that cripples the person.
In the same way, psychologists can also help the person develop habits so that intrusive sounds do not become the center of their attention.. Some of the options used are meditation and the use of ambient sounds that mask the constant tone or tinnitus beats.
What to do if you experience tinnitus?
The first thing to do is to go directly to the general practitioner, Who will provide the necessary measurements for carrying out hearing tests and, if necessary, can help initiate psychotherapeutic treatment with a specialist.
Throughout this time, if the tinnitus is making it hard for you to sleep, using recorded ambient sounds (rain or the crackle of a campfire, for example) can help mask the intrusive sound when you are sleeping. you fall asleep.