What is “TINNITUS”?
by Ryan Steckley H.I.S
As we approach “hearing awareness month”, I thought it would be relative to write about tinnitus, a very common medical condition that many of us experience. Tinnitus is a medical term for ringing in the ears’, often interpreted as “ringing”, “buzzing”, “hissing”, “static” or “crickets”.
That exact cause of tinnitus is still not fully understood; however, there are a large variety of suggested causes. What we can accept is that tinnitus involves some kind of abnormal neural activity, interpreted by the brain as sound. So in other words, tinnitus is the perception of noise of sounds within the ear when there is no external sound source. Where this neural activity originates is still much in dispute. What we can se however, is a correlation between hearing loss and reports of tinnitus. In face, 70-90% of people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing deficit with most common conditions associated with noise induced hearing loss, presbycusis (age related hearing loss), and Meniere’s syndrome (disease effecting hearing and balance).
The fact that most people with tinnitus show at least some deficit in hearing leads to the theory that tinnitus is related to auditory deprivation. It is believed that the central nervous system reacts to the last on neural stimulation from the ear (due to the hearing loss) by increasing its attentiveness to auditory signals that do reach it, thus creating awareness of abnormal sounds in the auditory system.
If you are someone who experiences tinnitus, understand that you are not alone. Approximately 15% of the world population reports symptoms of tinnitus. The majority of people with significant symptoms, report that it is constant, though many indicate that it fluctuates from day to day or is influenced by many external factors such as, noise exposure, stress and fatigue.
Despite the lack of a tinnitus “cure”, it would be wrong to say that there is nothing we can’t do to help. Most often we are told that there is nothing that can be done about the “ringing” in our ears; however, this is not necessarily true. There are recent developments in the treatment and management of tinnitus that can minimize the effects or impact of tinnitus. These techniques involve the combination of counseling methods, which help relieve tinnitus by addressing its physical and psychological aspects.
If your looking for more information on Tinnitus, contact the office at 905-697-3838.