Tinnitus is the specific perception of a sound in the human ear while in the absence of corresponding relevant external sound. Essentially speaking, it is a ringing in the ear in lieu of an actual external auditory sound. Tinnitus, contrary to popular belief, is not a disease, but rather a symptom that is resulting from a range of underlying causes including ear infections, nose allergies that prevent or induce fluid drain causing waxy build up, or other foreign objects being present in the ear. Tinnitus also can be caused by a natural hearing impairment as well as an occasional side effect to many medications. But, for the most part, the most common cause for tinnitus is what is known as noise induced hearing loss, or an excess of noise harming the inner ear which results in a ringing sensation. The actual term of tinnitus normally is in reference to the most severe cases. But, it is technically a broad term that covers any and all intensities.
As this common affliction is normally a subjective phenomenon, it is often difficult to measure using common objective tests such as the audiometric test which is a test that compares sounds and frequencies for the ear of the afflicted individual. The condition of tinnitus is usually rated clinically and the simple scale of slight to catastrophic, slight, obviously being the lowest level of inconvenience and catastrophic being life hinderingly bad, such as interfering with sleep or the ability to hear another sound entirely. Tinnitus is relatively common. Nearly one in five people between the ages of 54 and 64 years report some level of tinnitus symptoms. Of these individuals, over half of them are male, since males tend to have a greater exposure to the frequency and intensity of sound that most commonly causes tinnitus. However, these numbers are not exclusive to all regions.
Tinnitus can usually be perceived in one ear, but can also sometimes be perceived in both ears. It is usually described callously as an intense ringing noise; however, this is not universal. Many patients also state that it is personified by a short of buzzing, whining, hissing, humming, screaming, tingling, ticking, roaring, or whistling sound. In any case, it is characterized by a constant or consistent moderate to high pitched noise that can be heard by no one else. Tinnitus can be intermittent, but it is more commonly continuous when the symptom is severe enough. This can cause great psychological distress in an individual. In certain cases, the intensity of tinnitus can also be changed by eye, haw, tongue, head, or shoulder movements.
This has lead to the clinical suggestion that one cause of tinnitus might be sort of a homeostatic response of the central dorsal cochlear nucleus auditory neurons. This suggests that tinnitus might have something to do with a misfire in the brain as well.
The sound that is a result of tinnitus may range from a small quite background noise to a massively loud noise that can be heard over just about any external sounds.
Tinnitus and hearing loss can turn out to be permanent conditions if they are not fought against. There are several things that one can do in response to possible hearing loss or tinnitus in order to best reduce their chances of losing their hearing altogether. If a ringing in the ears becomes audible following a long exposure to a very loud auditory external sound, it means that hearing damage has occurred. If this is the case, it is a good idea to have ones ears check at the doctor’s office to make sure that a case of tinnitus will not occur as a result of that damage. For musicians, DJs, or other individuals that have jobs which expose them to loud noises during a regular portion of the day, it is a good idea to keep ear plugs on hand so that the noise does not becoming damaging. In most cases when a long ringing occurs in one’s ears after prolonged exposure to a high external sound, some form of tinnitus may occur. This is why it is a good idea to cut it off before it is even a possibility.