Remember your first big concert experience? I do. It was September of the year 2000 and I was in my senior year of high school. The concert itself was amazing and I remember it well. But I remember just as well the overwhelming ringing in my ears that didn’t go away for at least a day. I’ve seen war movies where the production will try to give the audience a sense of what a soldier has gone through by dampening all the sound after a big explosion. In the muted noise, a slight ringing can usually be heard. When I witness scenes like that I’m always brought back to that late summer night in Wheatland, where I was filled with teenage rock-concert adrenaline, and was seriously jeopardizing my hearing health. When I explained the sensation to my hard-of-hearing father, I remember his blunt response, “that’s really bad. That’s tinnitus. You’ll probably never hear some of those high tones the same way again.” Hearing this from my father stung. Nobody wants to show a reckless attitude towards their hearing when their own parent was born with severe hearing loss. Besides that, I should have known better since each and every band member in the headlining act was wearing musician’s earplugs.
— Joe Wood
Tinnitus is a common health condition. Over 45 million Americans struggle with tinnitus. Tinnitus is often referred to as ringing in the ears, but can often be experienced as a buzzing, hissing, chirping, static, or roaring sound in the ears. Some people even experience phantom musical tones. Symptoms range from a mild annoyance to a debilitating disability. This can cause distress, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, irritability, poor concentration, and sometimes even pain.
Some common causes of tinnitus include age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, obstructions in the middle ear, head and neck trauma, TMJ, sinus pressure, TBI, ototoxic medications, and vascular disease. It is reported that males experience tinnitus more often than females. Those with repeated or excessive occupational or recreational noise exposure are at a higher risk for developing this condition. In some instances, reducing caffeine, sodium, alcohol, or tobacco intake has reduced tinnitus. Engaging in exercise or other stress-reducing activities has also been known to reduce symptoms. In some cases the use of hearing aids, tinnitus retraining therapy, or progressive tinnitus management programs have helped reduce the effects.
To learn more, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert at UpState Hearing.