Tinnitus - What is it and what do we do about it?
Tinnitus is what people describe as “ringing” or “buzzing in the ears”. Tinnitus is the perceived sensation of ear noise. Although this can occur in isolation, tinnitus is typically associated with hearing loss. Tinnitus can be a temporary ringing like after some noise exposure or this can be an on-going problem for some people.
How long will Tinnitus or Ringing in the ears last?
While there is no definitive answer to this question, the duration of this symptom depends on its cause and severity. For example, noise-induced tinnitus could be temporary or occasional, whereas, if there is more severe damage over time to the hearing system, tinnitus could be more of a permanent symptom.
According to the King Hearing Center, “16 to 48 hours on average is how long tinnitus will last. But in some cases, symptoms can last as long as two weeks. Further exposure to loud noises could also trigger tinnitus to flare up again, effectively resetting the clock.”
If the “ringing” is a result of a concert, or some noise pollution situation, it will probably be temporary. But there are other reasons for tinnitus that may include wax build-up, infection due to medication or allergies, or even more long-term effects of a hearing loss.
Tinnitus can sometimes cause other health problems. For example, it’s not uncommon for people with tinnitus to also experience sleeping problems and cognitive distress.
According to Dr. Vanessa Rentschler, using earplugs with Tinnitus could have the listener "perceive" that the ringing is worse because now there is more intensity with their ears being occluded from the plugs. Earplugs do not make Tinnitus worse but that is the perception for many when getting tested or trying to use the plugs to sleep with.
Do more men suffer from TInnitus than woman? According to a 2013 study published in Ear and Hearing, women are more annoyed by tinnitus than men. Although men had a higher level of tinnitus loudness and hearing loss, women less tolerant of the condition.
What are treatments for Tinnitus?
Relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication. There isn’t really any “cure” for Tinnitus or ringing of the ears and for some a lifelong problem.
Tinnitus is difficult to treat and usually lasts a lifetime. Here is what it can sound like: [To hear what tinnitus sounds like, click on the ”tinnitus sounds” link.] There are several treatments that can provide some relief including devices that help the brain ignore the sound. But often people just have to live with it.
Research on treatment options are ongoing and the best source for current information is the American Tinnitus Association. Local Portland Resource…. 503 634 8978 or 503 248 9985
www.ata.org Tinnitus Awareness Week (February 7 – 13, 2022)
If tinnitus after noise exposure doesn’t stop within 48 hours please see a hearing health care professional. Your primary doctor can give you a referral to an ENT. - Radha Joy