Tinnitus: What it is, and why you don’t want to deal with it

Tinnitus is frequently referred to as a key symptom of hearing loss. However, to many people it’s still just a word that doesn’t really mean much.  Today, we’re going to take a look at the specifics of tinnitus, and how you can deal with what can be a debilitating symptom.

What is it?

Tinnitus is a term used to describe a sound that you can hear from inside your body rather than an outside source.  It is often referred to as ‘ringing’, but will often take the form of other noises such as:

    • Buzzing
    • Humming
    • Grinding
    • Hissing
    • Whistling
    • Sizzling

        On some occasions, the noise may actually beat in time with your pulse, a conditions known as pulsatile tinnitus.

        What causes tinnitus?

        Tinnitus can be caused by a number of different things.  On some occasions, a build-up of earwax can be enough.  On other occasions, a middle ear infection or a problem with your inner ear (such as Meniere’s Disease) may be responsible.

        Perhaps the most common cause is an exposure to excessive noise. A famous example is musician Pete Townshend, whose time onstage with The Who in the 1960s still affects him today. Townshend has previously described the condition as being 'painful and frustrating'.

        Musicians aren’t the only celebs to suffer from tinnitus. Both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy continue to deal with symptoms das a result of a stage and prop explosion on the set of Star Trek in the mid sixties. Comedian Steve Martin damaged his hearing during a pistol shooting scene on the set of Three Amigos!

        Both constant exposure to noise and single, excessively loud incidents are capable of causing damage, so it’s wise to ensure that you always protect your hearing whenever you feel it's at risk.

        Can it be treated?

        There are a number of treatments that can help you deal with symptoms of tinnitus. However, there is no permanent cure, and the effectiveness of treatments will vary according to how severe the condition is.

        On many occasions, treatments will work if there’s an underlying cause of the condition.  If –as  noted above – it’s caused by a build-up of earwax, then treatments such as eardrops or ear irrigation might well have a positive effect.

        However, if there isn’t an underlying reason, then it’s more a case of managing the condition rather than actually treating it.  Tinnitus tends to be most noticeable in quieter environments, meaning that background noise such as music or the TV can help provide a distraction. 

        Listening to naturally relaxing sounds can also help.  Most smartphones have apps capable of providing simulations of rain or the ocean, both of which can drown out tinnitus without affecting relaxation levels. 

        Protect yourself

        The main message to take away is, of course, to protect your hearing whilst you still can.  At AllEarPlugs.com, we stock a wide range of different protective products at a range of different price points. Click here to be taken straight to our catalogue.

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