Ringing in the Ears – its causes and treatments

November 12, 2012

Ringing in the Ears – its causes and treatments

Ringing in the ears is a condition which badly affects an estimated 50 million Americans and the medical term for this condition is tinnitus. It can compromise the quality of life for many sufferers and many people believe that not enough research has been carried out to discover effective treatments.

It is estimated that about 90% of those suffering from ringing in the ears developed the condition because of exposure to loud noise over a long period of time. However some people just develop tinnitus as part of growing older.

For those who were exposed to continual loud noise the inner ear has been permanently damaged. The cochlea, which is a major part of the inner ear, is extremely sound sensitive and the continual noise affects it negatively.

Many groups of workers, in earlier years, before health and safety issues were addressed, were at risk of tinnitus or deafness because of their job. Factory workers, heavy industrial machine operators, aircrew, those who worked with loud power tools such as chain saws or caulking guns in ship yards and not forgetting musicians were all at risk of hearing damage because of their jobs.

Today a major area of risk is when people listen to personal stereos with headphones and the volume is set too loud. These people are increasing their risk of developing tinnitus or some other hearing related condition. Some people say that the ringing in the ears started after one extremely loud incident, for example a rock concert, and the ringing has never fully gone away.

Usually the ringing in the ears is a symptom and not the cause of the condition which is gradually leading to some level of deafness.

Ringing in the ears – How to avoid it

Avoid certain drugs. It is known that some types of prescription and over the counter treatments can contribute to ringing in the ears. Aspirin, quinine treatments and some antibiotics can all contribute to tinnitus. Taking too much milk or other dairy produce can increase the mucus in the eustachian tubes and sinuses adding to the ringing sensation in the ears. Be careful with your diet, some foodstuffs make you more prone to ringing in the ears, ensure that you have enough vitamins in your diet and be moderate with alcohol and caffeine. Don’t smoke and avoid too much stress and anxiety as these all contribute to the likelihood of developing tinnitus and avoid any known toxins for you body.

Reasons for Tinnitus

There are many medical reasons for developing tinnitus which range from the simple build up of ear wax through to a tumor or perforated eardrum. There are also many ear infections such as Meniere’s disease which lead to tinnitus. High blood pressure, or jaw or neck issues or otosclerosis, which causes the small bones in the ear to become brittle all have the same effect.

Researchers are coming to the conclusion that tinnitus can be caused by many different reasons on top of what has been written about here. However no two people have developed the condition in the same way and sometimes it does not have one cause, it may have 2 or 3 different causes. This leads the health professions to be very cautious with treatments and take a pragmatic approach that perhaps their treatment will only heal one of the causes meaning more visits to the doctor and perhaps another course of medication.

One positive aspect of the condition is that people know what causes the flare up in the condition and by careful management of their food intake or avoiding other things then the condition can be managed.

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