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  • Ear Ringing



    Lately I've been experiencing what I believe to be somewhat chronic ear ringing.. (I may have always had it but have just ignored it--I'm not sure).


    Is this a common, but relatively benign annoyance or something I should consider getting checked out?


    If it makes any difference, I notice it mostly when I am sitting in a quiet room and often detect it before bedtime.


    Thanks in advance for any responses.


  • #2
    1



    Yay! I can be useful!


    I'm an audio engineer, so I can answer this one. The ringing you're hearing is called tinnitus. Often people think of tinnitus itself as a problem, but it's not, it's a symptom of some other cause. There are various causes for it and things that exacerbate it... high blood pressure, hearing damage, ear infections, etc.


    Almost everyone experiences some level of tinnitus whether they know it or not, but only about 20% of the population actually hears it. When I'm sitting in my control room at work (an isolated soundproofed room w/ acoustic treatments to tame reflections/transmission of sound) with nothing running, I hear it, but most of the time I don't.


    You really should only hear it in quiet environments. If you're hearing it during your normal day to day activities when there's plenty of sound around, or if it's really bothering you on a regular basis, then you should probably have it checked out. A doctor, ENT or audiologist can help you sort out the cause and possibly provide treatment, although tinnitus isn't always treatable/curable.

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    • #3
      1



      Are you taking aspirin? Aspirin can cause tinnitis. Happens to me (though I haven't needed any aspirin for a long time).

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      • #4
        1



        I have it from time to time. I generally only notice it when I get out of the car- usually when I have the music up loud.


        Great info, NoisyNinja. Very interesting.

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        • #5
          1



          The breadth of knowledge (in virtually all subject areas) housed here on the forums never ceases to amaze me! Thanks to each of you for your helpful responses.

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          • #6
            1



            Ooh I've had tinnitus as long as I can remember. I can hear it almost any time if I focus on it, but I've also learned to tune it out. I've seen shows on the Discovery Channel/PBS that it can be caused by the tiny hairs within your ear being out of line/not laying the right direction. Not sure if that's the case for me, but since I've always had it I kind of thought that was the case.


            It's interesting that you just started noticing it though, has anything in your surroundings changed lately at work or home??

            You are what you eat,
            and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan

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            • #7
              1



              Tinnitus ...my brother has it ...it's not something that will go away any time soon so plug in the iphone and ignore it !

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              • #8
                1



                I've had tinnitus for well over 2 years now as well. I could hear it anywhere/anytime if I focused on it and it eventually started getting louder and louder. It got to the point where I couldn't fall asleep at night and it was driving me bananas. Went to a specialist who threw the kitchen sink at me and revealed no identifiable cause. Then after a while I discovered that it worsens if I lie on my side so I started lying on my back to fall asleep, as that was the one position where I couldn't hear it at all. After a couple of weeks I noticed that my tinnitus markedly decreased.


                So moral of the story - go see a doctor if you want to but more importantly listen to your body and see if you can identify any triggers.

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                • #9
                  1



                  Please go see an Ear, Nose and Throat doc. Tinnitus can be a symptom for other more serious problems.


                  I took my 10-year old son to his ENT because he was complaining of tinnitus and it turned out to be a symptom of a cholesteatoma, which is a skin growth in the middle ear. The cholesteatoma secretions dissolved all of the bones in his middle ear (so he's now deaf in that ear). He's had three surgeries this year for this and will have a 4th this summer. Tinnitus is also sometimes a symptom of other serious conditions like brain tumors or aneurysms.


                  Not to be an alarmist, but please go to the doctor.

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                  • #10
                    1



                    Ahh.. the deafening silence.


                    I am very familiar with this - that indescribable "not-quite-buzz" that lurks just below the sound of living. I used to have to sleep with music on, or a fan/central-heating running. The white noise was comforting, but mostly it drowned out the thrum.


                    It started young, as long as I can remember. I do know that I had TERRIBLE ear infections as a child (I wonder if the disgusting formula my mother put me on early contributed to this... probably). They were to the point that my ear drums ruptured, and I had to have plugs put in. Guess I'm lucky to hear anything at all.


                    I'm not 100% sure its tinnitus, or caused by the above - what I hear is more... electromagnetic than a high pitched "ringing" as I hear tinnitus described. Dunno!


                    Going to try that, unchaten. Anything to enjoy the silence.

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                    • #11
                      1



                      Aaron, what I have is exactly what you describe. For as long as I can remember, I've had some form of this (I think).


                      It's kind of a light, ongoing high-pitched tone or ring. It doesn't really annoy me.. it just "is," if you know what I mean. In the past when I casually noticed it, I assumed it was some electrical sound that I could detect because I have somewhat sensitive hearing (that, or a low tolerance for noise/distractions).


                      I'll probably have it checked.

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                      • #12
                        I recently came across an article about new research into the mechanism of tinnitus, and what might be tried for it. I found it very interesting.

                        First, avoid hearing loss by using ear protection when exposed to noise.

                        http://www.wellnessresources.com/hea...s_on_tinnitus/

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                        • #13
                          New onset tinnitus can sometimes be reversed with steroids. There is a very short window where this can work, so I would recommend going in as soon as possible.
                          Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                          http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                          • #14
                            Severe tinnitus is usually caused by listening to music that is too loud. Turn down your music, stay away from loud rock bands, wear ear protection when you are exposed to LOUD sounds.

                            Tinnitus can get so bad that it is maddening. PROTECT YOUR HEARING - NO LOUD MUSIC

                            Grizz

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                            • #15
                              I've had it badly for a few months now - I have never had it checked out but its getting worse and so I think I might go to the docs. I have a history of bad ear infections which probably hasn't helped, but its started over the past few weeks to really start to get on my nerves. I high pitched hiss/ring in my left ear and a lower pitched hum in my right. maddening! I have always protected my ears from loud music etc (earplugs at concerts may sound silly but otherwise I am in pain - I even wear them in exercise classes as the instructors seem to think that if you can't "feel the bass" in your stomach its not quite loud enough to be motivating), but I think I still have hearing loss. In fact, thats why i don't go to the docs, scared it might be something bad/incurable. Ok, dumb, I know

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