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Expert Advice on Tinnitus

From our expert series, Neil J. DiSarno of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has some valuable information to share with those that suffer with Tinnitus/ringing of the ears.

"Tinnitus refers to “ringing in the ears” or “head noises” when no other sound is present. Tinnitus can sound like hissing, roaring, pulsing, whooshing, chirping, whistling or clicking. Tinnitus can occur in one ear or both ears. It is a symptom common to many problems. While the exact cause of tinnitus is unknown, it may be a symptom of other problems like hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, ototoxic medications, allergies or even too much wax in the ear canal. If you have tinnitus, chances are the cause will remain a mystery. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has more about commonly asked questions about tinnitus.

Both Henry and Liza as well as many others who have written are experiencing the effects of tinnitus to the point where it is disruptive to their lives, and both asked about the latest treatments. An advocacy group for tinnitus suffers is the American Tinnitus Association, and this link provides information about the latest research on tinnitus treatment, including neuromodulation treatment. With regard to hair cell regeneration to replenish the damaged sensory hair cells, a critical component to the hearing process, the National Institutes of Health provides information regarding recent advances in this area. Successes dealing with hair cell regeneration have so far been limited to animal studies. Some facts regarding tinnitus are:

  • One-third of all adults report experiencing tinnitus at some time in their lives. Ten to 15 percent of adults have prolonged tinnitus requiring medical/audiologic evaluation.
  • Up to 18 percent of the general population of industrialized countries is mildly affected by chronic tinnitus, and 0.5 percent report tinnitus having a severe effect on the ability to lead a normal life.

Tinnitus and hearing loss often go hand in hand. Contact an audiologist to find out if your tinnitus symptoms also include hearing loss."

Source: What Should Be Done About Hearing Loss? By THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: February 27, 2013 -