Tinnitus is the name of a little known medical condition where an individual hears sound in their ears. Individuals with this condition describe hearing a ringing sound; however, others hear a whistling sound, a humming sound, the sounds of crickets, songs, beeping noises, tunes, whining noises, whizzing and other odd sounds. Some people even experience a roaring sound in their heads which can become very annoying as well as distracting.
So I guess the best Tinnitus definition would be a condition that at its mildest is an annoying ringing in your ears that comes and goes, to a full blown crisis with painful, constant, nagging noise that takes over your quality of life and makes it miserable.
Tinnitus can become a lot more than just annoying, it can change your life. Some patients suffer from Tinnitus to such a degree that they can no longer live a normal life. These sounds can be heard quietly, like background music, or it can be so loud that it interferes with your hearing of normal external sounds and can be extremely painful.
Tinnitus can sometimes be heard by a doctor, in other words, the sounds can be heard outside the patient’s body. This is usually due to a medical condition. Tinnitus can be a symptom from other medical problems, and it can help diagnose problems you don’t know you have. Tinnitus can also occur or become more prominent when an individual has a fever or a non-ear related medical condition.
The most common causes of Tinnitus start with infections of the ear (both inner and middle ear infections), the placement of foreign objects within the ear, excessive wax build up, nasal allergies which affect the amount of fluid in the ear and taking too much of some medications, such as aspirin. Interestingly, a low Serotonin (hormone) level can cause Tinnitus, as well as major depression.
Tinnitus can also be caused by Cochlea damage. The Cochlea has this tinny hair like things that help send sound to the brain, and it helps keep us upright. Swimming accidents, sports injuries, dental surgery, allergies and sinus infections can cause it as well. Tinnitus is more common than one might think. A study has been done on a group of Tinnitus-free individuals that showed that almost 95 percent were able to hear a pulsing, buzzing or whistling noise when placed in a silent chamber.
There is an epidemic of hearing damage in the US due to exposure to high levels of noise. This can come from many different sources, like your favorite concert, or on the job, in Industrial occupations. Thanks to OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, most industrial work places furnish some form of ear protection, but not all. Just guard your hearing, it’s important.