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Ringing in the Ear-Tinnitus

Tinnitus relates to experiencing ringing or other noises in one ear or in both ears. The noise which we hear when we have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects nearly 15% to 20% of people, it’s more common in older adults.
It is usually caused by an underlying condition which can be age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or it might be a problem with the circulatory system. Many people do mention the fact that tinnitus improves with treatment of the underlying cause. There can be other treatments such as reducing or masking the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Tinnitus is quite often described as ringing in the ears, even though there is no external sound is present. However, tinnitus can also cause other types of noises in our ears, including:
• Buzzing
• Roaring
• Clicking
• Hissing
• Humming
Many people complain of subjective tinnitus or tinnitus that only one can hear. The noises of tinnitus may vary in volume. It can be a low roar to a high level of sound, which can be heard in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it affects the level of concentration or hearing external sound. Tinnitus can be present at all the time, while might be cases when it comes and go.
Tinnitus is generally not a permanent condition. Many times it might go off permanently without any intervention. In quite a few cases, the tinnitus disappears after a few weeks, or even a few days depending on the possible reasons behind it.

However, tinnitus gets cured on its own. In many cases, it is suggestive to wait around so that after a passage of time tinnitus gets stopped. But in cases when people experience the signs and symptoms of tinnitus for a long period of time. It continues for over a few weeks and months it is highly recommended to consult a Doctor for expert advice.

It is always advisable to seek advice at an early stage. This always provides a higher opportunity to get cured and reduce the problem faster. As it is common saying prevention better than cure.
Many times along with Tinnitus people suffer from Hearing Loss. People exposed to loud sound exposure does complain of hearing loss along with tinnitus. Though it’s a fact that mild tinnitus will get cured by itself relatively quickly. But the continued experience of tinnitus is an indication of more severe hearing loss problems. There are quite a few options available to manage this problem. Solutions such as Tinnitus Matching and Mapping are taken up at the initial level to identify the level of sound at which the Tinnitus is happening.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) is one of the solutions. The patient post-matching is provided regular sound-aided therapy to musk the tinnitus sound. The result varies based on the patient’s severity of the problem and the time duration for which it is undertaken. Hearing Aids are quite useful for tinnitus sufferers who also have problems with hearing loss. The patient does have difficulty in understanding speech. They inform although they are not able to hear the external sound, there is the presence of an unusual sound which is quite disturbing. The severity of this sound also varies from case to case.

Hearing Aids does work as an ideal solution for many cases where people suffer from Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. But it’s not a solution for all cases. Many a time external Tinnitus maskers especially when people do not suffer from Hearing Loss but have tinnitus works. TRT has been a useful solution in controlling the tinnitus effect. The result of TRT is more on the positive side when it is done for a long period. The blend of all these methods can also be chosen.

Studies suggest that around 50% of people with Tinnitus suffer from Hearing Loss as well. People in this category can go for Hearing Aids with a specialized Tinnitus Management program for better results. 10% of people have extreme levels of tinnitus. The sounds in this case are externally audible. The results are more effective in cases of early diagnosis and treatment.

There are cases when their chances of ignorance. People do not provide much importance to the problem at its nascent stage. Consulting the Audiologist at an early stage provide the opportunity to explore the multiple options in which the problem can be treated. It needs to be mentioned Tinnitus does have a chance of recurrence.
In most cases, the audiologist would go for a combination of tinnitus treatments which includes sound therapy, sound maskers, counseling, medication, and other forms of treatment. A multi-disciplinary approach when the problem has reached a severe level.

Arrangements can be made to prevent tinnitus from becoming more pronounced. This includes reducing exposure to loud noises. Infections in the ears and excessive wax can sometimes result in Tinnitus. It is highly recommended to consult a Doctor to get the necessary advice and medication procedure in such cases.

Stress anxiety complicates the Tinnitus problem. People having a stressful life do complain of Tinnitus. Yoga, Relaxation therapy can be useful ways to counter stress which reduces the chances of tinnitus.

Lastly, it needs to be mentioned that there are quite a few ways to deal with the problem. Before going for any treatment it is advisable to consult a Doctor and thereafter if required to seek the help of an Audiologist. It is not all advisable to take up self-treatment without any expert advice.


Noise Pollution and Hearing Loss

Noise has become an eternal part of our daily life. Hooting cars, Loudspeakers, and Listening to music using headphones are very common. Do we realize that exposure to loud sound does have permanent damage to our hearing Capacity? Not all sounds we are exposed to can be considered noise pollution. The World Health Organization (WHO) mentions that noise above 65 decibels (dB) is noise pollution. Further, it can be said that noise level becomes harmful when it exceeds 75 decibels (dB) and is more painful above 120 DB. It is always advised noise levels be kept below 65 dB during the day. During the night restful sleep is impossible when ambient noise levels are in excess of 30 DB.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website does some staggering reports. The report identifies that out of the 13 most polluted cities in South Asia 5 of them belongs to India. Noise pollution affects the animal species ability to hear. Regular exposure for more than 8 hours a day can permanently damage hearing ability.

Hearing loss is decreases the ability to hear and understand. It happens when the nerves that connect the brain do not work properly. Sometimes, hearing loss can be temporary. This temporary can turn to permanent damage when the damage happens on a regular basis. Exposure to Loud noise is particularly harmful to the middle and inner
ear. The cochlea located in the inner ear contains millions of hair cells. Exposure to Loud noise can damage the hair cells and membranes in the cochlea. Loud noise exposure for a long time does overwork hair cells in the inner ear, ultimately these cells get damaged or die. The hearing loss continues to increase as the exposure continues

If we have gone to watch a music concert, IPL, Football match, DJ where we have listened to loud sounds for along period. A common sign is generally observed that post leaving that place the hearing tends to be a little dull and inaudible. It becomes difficult to hear whispers, it might seem muffled. People tend to complain of ringing in the ears. Normal hearing tends to return within a few hours to a few days. The hair cells are very similar to blades of grass, they bend more as the sound is louder. They again become straight after a recovery period.

It needs to be mentioned here that loud noise damages too many of the hair cells, there are high chances some of them will get permanently damaged or die. Continuous exposure to loud noises will over a long period of time destroy many hair cells. This effect will gradually reduce the ability to understand speech, especially in noisy places. Eventually, if the hearing loss continues it will be progressive in nature. It will be difficult to understand speech even in quieter places.

The damage of hair cells also damages the auditory nerve that carries information to our brain. Early damages are generally not indicated in the Hearing Test or Audiometry Test. It creates ‘hidden hearing loss’ it becomes difficult to understand speech in a noisy area. The effect of loud noise over time does have a futuristic aspect. Once the damage is permanently affected it is impossible to recover. Even if the exposure to loud sounds has stopped then also the hair cells which have died cannot be rework able.

Probably the information does make us aware of the ill effects of loud sound exposure. It will be always advisable to avoid loud sounds as much as possible. People who are exposed to loud sounds due to their work requirements should go for protective devices such as Ear Muffs and Earplugs as protection. Further, it will always advisable to go for Hearing Test once a year to know if there is any form of detrition. It should always remember protection always better than cure.

Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist
Mrs. Arpita Niyogi