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What Causes Tinnitus? Ringing and Buzzing in Your Ears

What Causes Tinnitus

What Causes Tinnitus? Ringing and Buzzing in Your Ears? Hearing is such a vital part of our world  but if you start to hear things like ringing,   buzzing, roaring, clicking or hissing on a regular  basis, there might be something wrong with your   hearing.

Audiologist, Dr. Danny Gnewikow, tells  us more about tinnitus. Tinnitus is a hidden noise. Many people have it for no obvious reason to them.  They wake up one morning and their ear is ringing   and they certainly are concerned about it.

It’s a red flag. If you have a noise in your ear   that hasn’t been there before, you need to get  it checked out medically. Most of the time, it’s   benign. It’s not anything you need to be terribly  concerned about once you’ve checked it medically.

But tinnitus can be indications of acoustic tumors,  it can be indication of neurological disorders, or   it simply may be the result of having some hearing  loss and the nerve fibers in the inner ear not   functioning the way they were originally intended  to function.

There’s all kinds of tinnitus people   can have. Most people describe it as a high-pitched  ringing. It gets louder and softer. Sometimes it’s a   roaring, sometimes people describe it as crickets  or night noises.

It originates in the ear

And it, we used to think it came   from the ear. Well, it originates in the ear and  it’s generally related to the fact that the nerve   ending, the hair cells in the cochlea or the inner  ear, are not working together the way they should   be.

But the noise is actually not coming from  the ear, it’s coming from the electrical pathways   between the ear and the brain and sometimes even  probably from very close to the brain. It occurs   in probably 10 to 15 percent of the population, so  it’s not anything that’s, that’s particularly rare.

It can be caused by damage to the nerve. It can come from loud noise. It can be caused by medications. In   fact, if you read the fliers that come with most of  your medications, the specification sheet, a lot of   them will say that ringing in your ears is a side  effect and sometimes it can trigger that.

Levels of  noise

So it can   come from meds, it can come from high levels of  noise, it can come from neurological disorders, from   head trauma. Sometimes people have it following an  explosion. They say, “Well, when I was 16 years old   somebody shot a gun next to my head and I didn’t  have hearing protection and ever since then my ear   has been ringing.

” Well, of course, what they did  was they damaged the delicate nerve endings in   the inner ear and this was the result of that. — Now  does it ever go away? You know, for somebody that’s   been in this explosion or you know, or taking  medications especially, you know, will it go away   if the medications are stopped? — Okay, that’s a good  question.

A lot of times, it does. And probably, you   remember when you were a child and somebody popped  a cherry bomb next to your ear and your ears   would ring and ring and ring and then after a few  days, it stops.

So sometimes it does but sometimes   it doesn’t. With the medications, sometimes it will  when you get off of them and sometimes it doesn’t.   So you can’t always tell. People that have had  it for long term, generally have it for   most of their life.

Hearing loss from noise exposure

I’ve got it myself because  I’ve got hearing loss from noise exposure and   mine is there 24/7, it never goes away. As far  as dealing with it, that’s the big issue. What   do you do about it? Now, you see a lot of things  advertised about, get this drug or get this drug   and it will relieve your tinnitus.

There is no  documentation in the research for anything having   any major effect on that. Most of the time, when you  get it, you’ve got it. There are a couple approaches   that I use. One is what I would call habituation.

  And I know that sounds like a cop-out but   if you were raised in Oklahoma and you’ve never  seen the ocean and you went to Cape Hatteras and   you spent the night with your window open, all  you would hear are the waves.

But if you liked   it so much that you bought the house and you live  there the rest of your life, you don’t, you don’t   hear the waves anymore. Because they’re, it’s no  longer important.

Or if you live by the railroad   track, eventually you don’t hear the train unless  you stop to think about it. And I think that’s the   way most people cope with it. I think the people  that have the most difficulty are probably people   that have other emotional issues and they focus  on it and are unable to just consider it like any   other little malady.


If you’ve got a bad knee, most  of the time you just get used to it and say I’ve   got a bad knee and go on. And that’s kind of the way, I  think, you deal with it, is to habituate. The other   issue is the use of hearing aids.

Now, people say,  “Will a hearing aid take away my tinnitus?” Well,   no, it doesn’t. But in about 50% of the population,  if you can amplify the frequencies that you’re   missing, a lot of times that will mask them.

  In fact, most people will tell you, “I don’t notice   my ringing until it’s night and it’s quiet and  there’s no other sound in the room and then it   drives me nuts. In the daytime, I don’t notice it  much.

” But when you wear a hearing aid, then you’re   helping to amplify environmental sounds as well  as amplify speech to make it more understandable   and in a lot of cases, that helps. It helps in  my case.

I still hear it but I hear it much   less. But as far as a magic bullet, there really is  not one. — So then, the idea is then to come in here   and talk to somebody like you about coping  with it or learning those coping strategies as   well.

— The first thing you need to do if you have  tinnitus, is get it checked out. You need to have,   see an audiologist to get the hearing checked  and make sure there’s not any nerve damage. You   probably also need to see an ENT physician.

We  work together

We figure things out and they try   to fix them if they can. But unfortunately, you  can’t always fix the tinnitus. But if it’s a sign of something more serious, such as a tumor  in the ear, then that’s something that really   would need to be addressed by the physician.

And  Audiology Hearing Aid Associates has two area locations. One on Langhorne Road in Lynchburg 434-528-4245. Also Another location on Main  Street in Danville 434-799-6288. And tune in next week as we  talk about problems with hearing high frequencies.