What Is Tinnitus?

According to Science Daily: “Tinnitus is a phenomenon of the nervous system connected to the ear, characterized by perception of a ringing or beating sound (often perceived as sinusoidal) with no external source.” Tinnitus isn’t classified as a disease but is classified as the result of an underlying cause.

It can be felt in one or both ears and in the head and the resulting sound has been described by patients in many different ways. Most say it’s a ringing noise, while others say it takes the form of a whistling sound or a whining noise. Then there are other people who describe it as a buzzing, hissing or humming sound.

Some say it reminds them of roaring, and even crickets or tree frogs. In some cases tinnitus occurs intermittently while for others it can be continuous which can be very disturbing and in some situations has led to reported cases of suicide. Some people can vary the severity of the discomfort by moving their shoulders, head, tongue, jaw, or even by moving their eyes.

Hearing loss is a by product of tinnitus and most people with the affliction suffer various degrees of hearing impairment. The strength of sound heard may range, on the mild side, from a quiet background noise to the other end of the spectrum as something that can be heard over loud external noise.

One of the causes of this effect is unnatural levels of noise exposure which is very prevalent in industrialized countries. These sounds can take on various forms such as prolonged contact with loud music such as what members of a rock band might endure or daily exposure to other work place rackets such as industrial machinery.

Tinnitus itself can lead to other effects such as extreme irritability, fatigue, and in extreme cases may cause clinical depression and or musical hallucinations. Some people in the past have mistaken sounds they are subject to on a regular basis as tinnitus. For example, a high pitched sound such as radio frequency hearing which imitates the problem has sometimes led to an incorrect diagnosis.

Tinnitus and the resulting hearing loss may be permanent conditions and if a noise in the ears is present following lengthy exposure to a source of loud sound it may mean lasting or permanent damage has already occurred.

According to audiologist’s prolonged exposure to sound levels as low as 70 decibels can result in damage to hearing. For many people who suffer through noise exposure on a daily basis such as musicians and disk jockeys, musicians’ ear plugs are used as a preventative measure. They are specially designed to lower the volume of the music without distorting the sound so they don’t interfere with the musician’s performance.

You should also pay close attention to which medications you’re taking especially when you’re taking several different kinds. Prolonged use of multiple meds, depending on the type of pills and the dosage, may have a cumulative effect by increasing the damage inflicted by noise.

There are many considerations to take into account when discussing tinnitus and its characteristics and causes and they all should be scrutinized on an individual basis before any sound conclusion can be drawn.