Tinnitus - pete Townsend
Tinnitus is that terrible ringing in the ears that often follows exposure to loud noise. You might have noticed this after a rock concert where you were a player or a listener. The show is over, but there's a ringing in your ears. For some people, the problem is only temporary. It's frustrating but has no lasting effect. There can be more significant problems, however. It can become permanent. And that's serious business.
"I have severe hearing damage. It's manifested itself as tinnitus, ringing in the ears at frequencies that I play guitar. It hurts, it's painful, and it's frustrating."
There's more than 51 million people who experience some form of tinnitus and more than 12 million who seek medical advice. The actual cause of tinnitus isn't known. It's more like a symptom than a disease. It's similar to a pain in your leg being a symptom of something else not quite right.
Tinnitus is a symptom of something wrong in your auditory system. The auditory nerve has been shocked and the brain interprets this as noise. This damage can exist to varying degrees. That's why when you experience a ringing in your ears, if it doesn't subside, have it checked out. And when you're going places where the music is going to be loud or you're working in a place that has noise levels exceeding normal standards, get yourself some earplugs.
What to do if you have tinnitus
If you think you have tinnitus, make an appointment for an examination with an ear specialist or audiologist. These are the people who can determine whether or not you've got a problem, and they can suggest treatments to relieve or cure your problem. Also check out an article on Tinnitus Treatment from Robert Sweetow, ph.D.
But there are some things you can do as well to make sure your condition doesn't get any worse. First of all, make sure you avoid exposure to loud noises and wear ear protection whenever you think you may be exposed to sounds that could aggravate your problem. These sounds could include: heavy machinery, motorcycles, loud music, chain saws, and the like. Just be smart and use good judgement.
We also know that tinnitus can be aggravated by alcohol, recreational drugs, caffeine, and nicotine. Avoiding these substances will also help prevent further problems. Aspirin and some antibiotics can worsen tinnitus, but physicians often can regulate the dosages to minimize side effects. Also, plain old ordinary stress and fatigue can aggravate tinnitus. It's often easier said than done, but take whatever steps you can to reduce the stress in your daily life. These suggestions may help you to cope with tinnitus.
Tinnitus may also be accompanied by ear pain. Dental treatment for jaw problems may prove effective for some people.
And, finally, counseling, behavioral modeling, cognitive therapy, patient education and support groups have provided help in coping with tinnitus.
Here's a quick review:
- Get a hearing test by an audiologist.
- Get an examination by a ear specialist.
- Avoid nerve stimulants.
- Avoid exposure to excessive noise levels.
- Get adequate rest and try sleeping with your head elevated to reduce head congestion.
- Use one of the many masking devices available.
- Exercise and eat healthy foods.