About 1 out of every 10 Americans has tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears), and it’s especially common among U.S. veterans. According to an article in Healthy Hearing by Joy Victory, Managing Editor of Healthy Hearing.
Symptoms of tinnitus: Why do my ears ring?
A persistent ringing, buzzing, or whirring sound can indicate tinnitus. It can be loud or soft, pulsing or steady. You may feel like you have “ringing in the ears” or that your head is full. But tinnitus symptoms are different for every person. For some, tinnitus seems to get louder at night, just before sleep when no other sounds are competing with it. Tinnitus can remain constant or come and go intermittently. In severe cases, the ringing in the ears is loud enough to interfere with work or daily activity, whereas those with mild tinnitus can experience soft ringing that is no more than a minor annoyance.
What Causes Tinnitus?
While the underlying cause of many cases of tinnitus is never discovered, there are some common risk factors, which including aging, loud noise exposure, certain unhealthy habits, and many different health conditions, such as high blood pressure or Meinere’s disease.
Age: Around the age of 60, hearing sensitivity can start getting worse. Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis, and it can be accompanied by tinnitus.
Loud noise exposure: Being exposed to occupational loud noise on a regular basis from heavy equipment, chain saws or firearms is a common cause of tinnitus. However, even if you don’t work in a noisy environment, you can still suffer the effects of noise exposure by listening to loud music through headphones, attending live music performances frequently and engaging in noisy hobbies.
Unhealthy habits: Researchers are not entirely certain why, but drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating certain foods and drinking caffeinated beverages can play a role in tinnitus.
Common ailments: Having anemia, allergies, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems, diabetes and an underactive thyroid gland are all medical conditions that can lead to tinnitus. (Hearing a pulsing sound, known as pulsatile tinnitus, should always be investigated by a doctor.)
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Susan E. Terry, Au.D., F-AAA, F-NAP
Doctor of Audiology
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