Tinnitus is one of the most common reasons why people go see an audiologist. It’s either a constant or randomized high pitched sound that only the individual can hear. Sounds can range from a ring, click, buzz or a sound similar to rushing water. Many think tinnitus is a disease, on the contrary it’s the effect of something else happening in your brain and your overall hearing. Inside the inner part of your ear, there are tiny hairs that pick up the vibrations of sounds and in turn interpret it as sounds for your brain. If damage occurs to these hairs, this is where the erratic or constant noise stems from. Once these hairs are damaged, they cannot grow back. Don’t assume for one minute that what you’re hearing is normal. If you think you have even a slight chance of tinnitus, go and get your hearing checked. Hearing damage isn’t something to take lightly. Unlike our skin, hearing in nonregenerative. What that means is once significant damage has been done, there is no going back. There are obviously aftermarket aids you can purchase and wear to give your hearing back, but it will never be 100% natural again. That’s why in instances where you may think twice about if hearing protection is necessary, wear it. The old adage holds true where you’d rather be safe than sorry. Especially with the technology currently available there’s no reason you shouldn’t be wearing some form of protection in lifestyles that have high sound levels. What are the actual causes of tinnitus though and how can you protect yourself from the aftermath of it?
There are a few different reasons as to how tinnitus is created. In some cases it’s caused by external forces while with others it’s caused by medical issues such as diseases. The obvious ones are trauma and exposure to loud sounds. They sound like one in the same, but the trauma could be something as simple as blunt force trauma to the ears. The exposure to the loud noises is probably the most common. Whether around loud machinery at your job or exposure to loud explosions or gunfire, the end result is still the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re just at the job site for a few mins or just breaking a few shots off in order to zero your rifle, the damage can still occur. Common household medications that are overused can also cause serious damage to your hearing. Examples would be aspirin, heavy antibiotics, and Qualaquin which treats malaria. Overall hundreds upon hundreds of pharmaceutical drugs list tinnitus as a side effect.
Following up is an extremely rare disease known as Meniere’s disease. Other side effects are dizziness and nausea. A feeling of fullness in the ear can last up to hours. This disease actually comes from there being an issue with the ear itself, tinnitus just happens to be an unfortunate side effect. Tumors in the brain can absolutely effect hearing as well. Acoustic neuroma is just that. Being in the brain, it ends up growing on the nerve that supplies hearing and tinnitus usually ends up only affecting one ear. Through the eyes of a professional doctor, it’s usually fairly easy to spot. Pulsatile tinnitus sounds just like it sounds. It has a pulsing type sound attached to it and usually directly relates to a lack of proper blood flow either in or around the ear. Finally, if your hear a clicking sound due to your tinnitus that can usually be linked to by your TMJ (jaw joint) being misaligned.
Save ‘em Now
Regardless of your work situation or your hobbies, if loud noises are involved you better be getting your hearing in check. Obviously some of the aforementioned causes didn’t directly involve loud sound as a culprit, but if you can prevent being around them unprotected do so at all costs. There are a multitude of shapes, sizes, and price points of good hearing protection available. The fact of the matter is that yes, you may have to carry them around to and fro your job site or activity. The upside is you will be continually protected. At the end of the day, don’t take a chance on something as irreplaceable as your hearing. Your friends, family and lifestyle will thank you when you don’t have the intermittent or constant ringing to ruin your day.