Why Are My Ears Ringing?
Why Are My Ears Ringing?
Tinnitus is typically known as “noise in the ears” or “ringing in the head”. It is often associated with an underlying hearing loss but that is not always the case. Tinnitus is very common – it affects about 43%* of Canadians! Even so, there is so much we still don’t know about it because it is such a difficult phenomenon to study. But here’s what we do know…
Tinnitus is a noise, often described as ringing or buzzing, heard as coming from inside one’s head. Tinnitus is typically known as subjective which means only the person who has it can hear it. In rare cases tinnitus can be objective which means it is audible to the people around you. In both cases, the origin of the tinnitus is from within one’s head, not an outside source. Some people experience tinnitus in one or both ears, for some people it is chronic (always present) and for some it is temporary or transient (present occasionally).
The volume of this noise is variable. It varies from person to person. It can also vary for the same person depending on their mood, fatigue, exposure to noise, etc. Often, the more you pay attention to it, the louder it becomes. Interestingly, scientific studies have shown that the sound is not as loud as it is perceived but rather its our perception or our disturbance in response to the tinnitus that varies.
You are probably reading this article wondering, but what is the cause of my tinnitus? How can I get rid of it?
One of the main things we now know is that tinnitus is a symptom of damage to the hearing system. This damage can take many forms and can occur at different levels of the hearing system. Some of the problems we see that can cause damage to the auditory system and lead to tinnitus are ear infections, permanent hearing loss, temporary hearing loss, noise exposure, Deafness, head trauma (specifically the temporal bone which houses the inner ear organs), acoustic neuromas, diseases/viruses of the inner ear, and more.
It is very important to consult your general practitioner or an audiologist if you are experiencing chronic tinnitus, especially if the onset was sudden or it is only present in one ear. An audiologist is a regulated health care professional who specializes in the assessment, identification, and treatment of hearing and balance system disorders. Tinnitus can also be linked to problems with the neck, teeth, jaw, or other health-related issues. Consult with your general practitioner if you are experiencing any other symptoms in conjunction with the tinnitus.
To read more, see our article: Solutions to my tinnitus.