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Tinnitus: Glossary

Last modified: 
25/04/2012 - 15:24

Here are definitions of medical terms related to Tinnitus:

Aneurysm: Widening of an artery

Auricle: The part of thr ear that we see

Cochlea: An organ in the inner ear that transforms sound vibrations in the inner ear into nerve impulses for transmission to the brain.

Cochlear implant: A device used for treating severe deafness that consists of one or more electrodes surgically implanted inside or outside the cochlea, an organ in the inner ear that transforms sound vibrations in the inner ear into nerve impulses for transmission to the brain. Unlike a hearing aid, which amplifies sounds, the implant receives and passes on electrical signals.

Decibel (dB): A unit of measure used to determine the relative loudness of a sound.

Eustachian tube: The passage that connects the middle ear and the back of the nose. It acts as a drainage way for the middle ear and regulates the pressure between the middle ear and the outside environment.

Hardening of the arteries: Called atherosclerosis,this refers to a buildup of cholesterol and other fatty deposits in the arteries, that increases the risk of heart and other diseases

Hearing aid: An instrument designed for amplifying sound.

Lidocaine: A local anesthetic used to relieve pain and irritation, to numb tissues before minor surgical procedures, and as a nerve block.

Masking: The use of other sounds to "drown out" the annoying noises associated with tinnitus. A simple test is available to obtain a preliminary idea of the value of masking for a particular individual.

Meniere's disease: A disorder of the inner ear characterized by recurrent dizziness, deafness, and tinnitus. In 80 to 85 percent of cases, only one ear is affected.

Otosclerosis: A common ear disorder characterized by unusual stiffness or lack of flexibility of the tiny bones of the middle ear. This condition frequently causes tinnitus.

Presbycusis: hearing loss and other hearing problems related to advanced age.

TMJ syndrome: Referring to temporomandibular (i.e., jaw) joint syndrome, TMJ syndrome is thought to be a malfunction of jaw joints of the upper and lower jaw bones and the muscles and ligaments that control and support them.

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.