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anxiety or ear problems?
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anxiety or ear problems?

My 83 year old mother is deaf from her left ear but has had loud rumbling on the left side of her head. The noise continues for a half an hour or so, but in the meantime she cries and feels like she is going crazy. What can be done for her?
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Hello, Thank you for posting these questions and concerns. Noises in the ear is known as Tinnitus and is very common.  

Some common causes of tinnitus are:

hearing loss
noise exposure
medications
general health-diabetes, heart disease
stress/anxiety
caffeine
excessive use of aspirin/tonic water-anything with quinine
head injury
excessive wax
tumors affecting the hearing nerve

Unfortunately there is no medical treatment to cure tinnitus.  What we have to do is determine the cause by ruling out the above causes for your particular case.  You will also see several over-the-counter "treatments" for tinnitus such as "ring stop" however these drops/pills do not treat tinnitus and I would not recommend spending your money on them.

As Audiologist, anytime we see unilateral tinnitus, we refer for medical management to determine the cause.  This is typically done through an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist.  Your primary physician can direct you how to find a specialist.  Have you had a full diagnostic hearing evaluation? You can find a provider for a hearing evaluation by visiting www.hearusa.com.

Once you are cleared for medical conditions that might be causing your tinnitus you can look at coping strategies and/or a tinnitus masker.  These can be provider through your hearing care provider.

There is also something known as Auditory Hallucinations which is a more advanced form of tinnitus and is less common. These patients will report they often hear music or people talking.  This is often caused by medications, interactions with medications or changes in dosage of medications.

I hope this information is helpful.

Rachele M. Orsini, Au.D.
2 Comments
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I know exactly what she is going through. I too have rumbling noise in my head, mostly from my right side. I too feel as if I'm going crazy. I've yet to find a solution, but I hope by posting a response and tracking the conversation we'll come up with a solution. I've been praying about this for months now. Good luck!
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