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About Tinnitus

What Is Tinnitus?

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Hearing Loss What Is It?

Hearing Advice -- Crabby

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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.

Pete TownsendPete Townshend:

"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 head congestion.

  • Use one of the many masking devices available.

  • Exercise and eat healthy foods.

Also don't forget to check out

American Tinnitus Association

Tinnitus Online Community

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:

    Hyperacusis Network
    Dan Malcore
    444 Edgewood Drive
    Green Bay, Wisconsin 54302

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