What is Tinnitus?

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Tinnitus is the name given to the condition of noises ‘in the ears’ and/or ‘in the head’ with no external source. Tinnitus noises are described variously as ringing, whistling, buzzing and humming.

The noise/s may be heard in one ear, both ears or in the middle of the head or it may be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. The noise may be low, medium or high-pitched. There may be a single noise or two or more components. The noise may be continuous or it may come and go.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease or an illness, it is a symptom generated within a person’s own auditory pathways. Although it is often assumed that tinnitus occurs as a result of disease of the ears, this is often not the cause. The precise cause of tinnitus is still not fully understood but is usually associated with some hearing deficits. Damage caused to the hearing nerve in the inner ear is one of the most commons causes of tinnitus. Listening to loud noises such as music from an ipod, heavy machinery, and firearms can also cause tinnitus. There is no way to cure tinnitus and age can be another factor that plays a role in the onset of tinnitus symptoms.

Who gets tinnitus?

Experiences of tinnitus are very common in all age groups, especially following exposure to loud noise, however, it is unusual for it to be a major problem. There is a widely held misconception that tinnitus is confined to the elderly, but various studies have shown that it can occur at any age, even quite young children. Mild tinnitus is common – about 10 per cent of the population have it all the time and, in up to one per cent of adults, this may affect the quality of their life.

Who’s at Risk?

 

Many professions and activites can put you at risk for getting tinnitus. People around loud industial noise, such machinists, airport workers, military personnel & carpenters are all at risk. Activities such as listening to loud music, whether on an mp3 player, at a concert, or in a nightclub can also put you in the at-risk category.

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