Tinnitus is that terrible ringing in the ears that often
follows exposure to loud noise. You might have noticed this
after a rock concert where you were a player or a listener.
The show is over, but there's a ringing in your ears. For
some people, the problem is only temporary. It's frustrating
but has no lasting effect. There can be more significant problems,
however. It can become permanent. That's serious business.
"I have severe hearing damage. It's manifested itself
as tinnitus, ringing in the ears at frequencies that I play
guitar. It hurts, it's painful, and it's frustrating."
There are more than 51 million people who experience some
form of tinnitus and more than 12 million who seek medical
advice. The actual cause of tinnitus isn't known.
Tinnitus is a symptom of something wrong in your auditory
system. The auditory nerve has been shocked and the brain
interprets this as noise. This damage can exist in varying
degrees. That's why when you experience a ringing in your
ears, if it doesn't subside, have it checked out. And when
you're going places where the music is going to be loud or
you're working in a place that has noise levels exceeding
normal standards, get yourself some earplugs.
What To Do if You Have Tinnitus
If you think you have tinnitus, make an appointment for an examination
with an ear specialist or audiologist. These are the people who can determine
whether or not you've got a problem, and they can suggest treatments to
relieve or cure your problem. Also check out an article
on Tinnitus Treatment from Robert Sweetow, Ph.D.
But there are some things you can do as well to make sure your condition
doesn't get any worse. First of all, make sure you avoid exposure to loud
noises and wear ear protection whenever you think you may be exposed to
sounds that could aggravate your problem. These sounds could include:
heavy machinery, motorcycles, loud music, chain saws, and the like. Just
be smart and use good judgment.
We also know that tinnitus can be aggravated by alcohol, recreational
drugs, caffeine, and nicotine. Avoiding these substances will also help
prevent further problems. Aspirin and some antibiotics can worsen tinnitus,
but physicians often can regulate the dosages to minimize side effects.
Also, plain old ordinary stress and fatigue can aggravate tinnitus. It's
often easier said than done, but take whatever steps you can to reduce
the stress in your daily life.
Tinnitus may also be accompanied by ear pain. Dental treatment for jaw
problems may prove effective for some people.
Various therapies that have proven helpful in coping with tinnitus include
counseling, behavioral modeling, cognitive therapy, patient education
and support groups.
Here's a quick review
Get a hearing test by an audiologist.
Get an examination by a ear specialist.
Avoid nerve stimulants.
Avoid exposure to excessive noise levels.
Get adequate rest and try sleeping with your head elevated to reduce
Use one of the many masking devices available.
Exercise and eat healthy foods.
Also don't forget to check out
American Tinnitus Association
What Is Tinnitus?
Hyperacusis is an unusual sensitivity to sound that is a symptom of several
disorders including Meniere's disease and tinnitus. However, like tinnitus,
there is very little research available on known cures.
Hyperacusis should not be confused with the better known problem of "recruitment"
which bothers many people who are hard of hearing. Recruitment is caused
by damage to the cochlear cells, resulting in an inability to hear quiet
sounds while louder sounds may be painful. Those who suffer with hyperacusis
do not usually have an audiometrically defined hearing loss.
Even the sound of a vacuum cleaner or washing machine can sound like
a jet taking off to people with unusual sensitivity to sounds. New evidence
indicates that hyperacusis, as well as other kinds of oversensitivity,
such as intolerance of light, may be linked to a deficiency of a specific
chemical in the brain responsible for controlling the amount of information
being transmitted from the senses. If so, it could have significant implications
for future medical treatment, not just for hyperacusis, but for other
conditions such as autism.
The best way to help deal with hyperacusis is through coping strategies.
For more information on hyperacusis, please contact:
444 Edgewood Drive
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54302