What Is That Ringing In My Ears?
At some time in our life, we have all experienced hearing ringing in our ears. In fact, there is the old wives’ tale, that if your ears are ringing someone is talking about you. But for some individuals, the ringing does not go away. Tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ear, is defined as the internal perception of a sound that has no external source. Not everyone hears tinnitus as a ringing. Some people describe the phantom noise as a buzzing, hissing, or music-like sound.
What Is Tinnitus?
The exact cause of tinnitus is unknown. It can reflect damage to the auditory system: anywhere from how our ear detects auditory signals all the way to how our brain processes those sounds. Although there is no cure for tinnitus it can often be managed. The success of managing tinnitus depends on the specific cause of tinnitus, how long the person has experienced tinnitus as well as other health-related factors.
What Causes Tinnitus?
We do know several things that can cause or exacerbate tinnitus. A common cause of tinnitus can be prolonged exposure to noise. Repeated exposure to loud noises, such as machinery, power tools, or gunfire can damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Tinnitus is one of the most common service-related disabilities among Veterans. Once these hair cells are damaged, they cannot be replaced. For this reason, it is especially important to wear earplugs when in excessively loud environments to protect your ears from noise exposure. Sporting events, concerts, and fireworks can easily exceed noise levels of 115 dB which could potentially damage those hair cells in a matter of minutes.
What Can Tinnitus Lead To?
Tinnitus can also be a sign of hearing loss. According to the American Tinnitus Association, more than 90% of its members who have tinnitus also report some type of hearing loss. For some individuals, tinnitus may be the first sign of hearing loss.
If you have vertigo symptoms along with ringing, full hearing loss in one ear, or any other symptoms that suggest Meniere’s disease, you should seek medical attention right once.
If you hear your heartbeat whooshing, which is referred to as pulsatile tinnitus, that is another potentially significant warning sign. More severe conditions such as a benign tumor, middle ear infections, high blood pressure, blocked arteries, or stroke may be to blame for this sensation. We advise contacting your doctor as soon as possible if it occurs to you.
When To See a Doctor
If you experience tinnitus, it is important to first have a medical evaluation to determine if a health-related condition is causing the tinnitus. Schedule a hearing and tinnitus evaluation with Sophisticated Hearing. During the tinnitus evaluation, Dr. Olson will attempt to match the pitch and loudness of your tinnitus as well as determine which types of sounds may mask or cover up the tinnitus.