Ringing in the Ears is a Common Affliction
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head when no external source is present. The condition is an affliction that bedevils and annoys many sufferers. There are millions who deal with this on a daily basis. My Mom suffers from the ear ringing symptoms. She also has hearing loss. Mom has purchased several hearing aids over the years and none have helped her much. She’ll meet or come in contact with an audiologist representative who will tell her that the latest hearing aid they offer will assist with tinnitus and she’ll give the hearing aid a try. Several thousand dollars later she still suffers from the condition and can’t hear any better. The hearing aids merely increase the volume of the ear ringing for her without making her hearing any better.
What are the Causes?
- Noise exposure – Hair cells called cilia line the inner ear. Exposure to loud noises can damage or destroy the cilia. These hair cells cannot be replaced once they are damaged.
- Head and neck trauma - Physical trauma to the head and neck can tinnitus symptoms. The ear ringing is often coupled with headaches, vertigo or loss of memory.
- Certain diseases or conditions, including thyroid disorders, Lyme disease and fibromyalgia, can have tinnitus as a symptom.
- Certain types of tumors
- Excessive ear wax
- Misalignment of the jaw
- Cardiovascular disease or reduced blood circulation
- Medications – some medications have ototoxicity as a side effect. In other words, they are toxic to the ear. Other medications can induce tinnitus symptoms without actually damaging the inner ear. These side effects can be temporary in nature or they may be permanent.
- Pulsatile tinnitus – although not common, this type of tinnitus produces sounds similar to a rhythmic pulsing in the ear, often in synch with one's heartbeat. Pulsatile tinnitus can be caused by abnormal blood flow close to the inner ear or brain tumors and other irregularity in brain structure.
How Many People Suffer from Tinnitus Symptoms?
Millions are Afflicted
The short answer is that millions of folks have ear ringing symptoms. A recent study estimates that about ten to fifteen percent of the United States population, which correlates to over 30 million people, have to deal with tinnitus. The ear ringing symptoms appear to increase as we grow older. The symptoms not only afflict the ear, tinnitus has been shown to have an impact on a person’s emotional well-being, sleeping ability to sleep and the ability to concentrate. The
High Profile Tinnitus Sufferers
Several celebrities have revealed their tinnitus affliction, including Pete Townsend of The Who and Chris Martin of Coldplay. One can understand that rock musicians could be afflicted
given that loud music is an occupational hazard. I know I used to blast the stereo on a constant basis and I'm not musically inclined. Many of us growing up in the sixties and seventies listened to music as loud as humanly possible without concern for later ear repurcussions. Other reported sufferers include Sylvester Stallone, Larry King, Cheryl Tiegs, Morgan Fairchild, Steve Martin and Leonard Nimoy. The condition doesn’t just afflict musicians among its celebrity sufferers.
Hearing aids can help those suffering from tinnitus who also have hearing loss. Typically, hearing aids are effective for amplifying sound, which is why they work well for hearing loss. Ringing of the ear is more complicated, given that hearing aids don’t work to decrease the ringing sensation, as attested to by my Mom. For her, the only thing the hearing aids do is
Given that tinnitus can arise from different causes that impact the ear in differing ways, a one size fits all strategy for limiting or managing tinnitus isn't really possible. There is not a cure for the condition unless it is generated by an underlying medical condition that's cured or resolved. A Harvard Medical School article theorizes that for some sufferers the noise in the ear is something like phantom pain for those without a limb. The brain adds its own stimulus when the auditory pathway signals are somehow lacking.
Chronic ear ringing is an annoying condition for many. For some, it erodes their quality of life. Dealing with the condition can be a challenge given that the causes of the symptoms are not uniform for all sufferers.