Tinnitus - What is the cause and meaning of the ringing in my ears?
The term Tinnitus (often misspelled 'Tinitus', 'Tenitus’ or ‘Tenitis’) describes a ringing in one's ears that is audible at a certain frequency and does not seem to be related to any source of sound outside the auditory system of the person who is plagued by the annoying sound in their ears. The most common symptoms of Tinnitus are described as a 'ringing in the ears', 'buzzing sounds', 'hum' or 'whistling'. Some people experience Tinnitus temporarily and it recedes after a few seconds or minutes, however, for some people the ringing and buzzing sound in their ears is or becomes permanent. In these cases the person suffers greatly because the ringing simply does not stop, not even at nighttime. In fact, at the time when people go to bed, their Tinnitus can become even more intense for the simple reason that the world around them becomes quieter and there are no other sounds that 'mask' the irritating Tinnitus sound. So quite a lot of people with Tinnitus not only suffer from the irritation that the whistling sound brings during the day, they also often fight with sleeping problems and insomnia because the annoying sound that is now even louder than during daytime keeps them awake.
Tinnitus is an entirely subjective phenomenon, that is, it cannot be heard by other people, nor can it be measured by technical equipment. This often leads to those suffering from Tinnitus to ask the question "What is the meaning of Tinnitus?", however, more often than not there is no 'meaning', it is simply an unwanted condition that can originate from a number of conditions. Causes for Tinnitus are often reported to be hearing loss as a result from excessive noise, ear infections, oxidative stress, allergies or emotional stress.
One of the most common approaches towards dealing with Tinnitus is to simply try and stop paying attention to the problem and direct our thoughts towards other things. However, this may not work for everyone because ignoring the elephant in the room is not that easy if you are faced with it every day. But, there are other things that we can do. For example we can start by avoiding some of the major causes of Tinnitus, namely, exposure to loud noises or some prescription and non-prescription medications. So if you work in an occupation or environment that is by its nature very noisy (e.g. Construction workers, Nurses, Firemen, Military and Police Personnel) use noise reducing equipments (e.g. ear plugs, ear muffs). If you are taking any kind of medication, check with your doctor whether any of the pills that you take may be causing your ears to ring. If possible, you may want to check with your doctor if there is an alternative drug available.
While we are on the topic of medication, unfortunately, there are no drugs available for the treatment off Tinnitus, however, there are a number of therapies that may help to ease or eliminate the whistling sound. The degree of effectiveness of the therapies varies from individual to individual. Read our next article to find out about a number of therapies and decide for yourself whether there is a therapy that you think may help you personally.
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Keywords: Ringing in Ears, Buzzing Sound, Whistling Sound, Whistle, Annoying Sound in Ear, Meaning