A recent study, published in the JAMA Otolaryngology, revealed that one out of every ten Americans suffer from mild to severe tinnitus, the sensation of ringing in their ears, a perception that is not caused by any external force. These phenomena may be linked with the noise people are exposed to in their everyday routines.
The study was called “Prevalence, Severity, Exposures, and Treatment Patterns of Tinnitus in the U.S.” and it was prepared by a group of scientists from the University of California, coordinated by Dr. Harrison Lin.
The report stated that noise exposure could be a major contributor to tinnitus, one of the most annoying conditions related to the human-audition system. But tinnitus is more than just an annoying and common condition. This affection can cause impairment when persistent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also stated that severe tinnitus can lead hearing loss at some level.
The scientists used data provided by the Integrated Health Interview Series, where about 76,000 people participated in a study related to noise-induced hearing problems. An alarming index of 27 percent of individuals apparently suffered from the condition for more than 15 years, and more than a third of the participants felt the symptoms regularly, even though most cases were mild and not severe.
The findings of this revision of data include that people exposed to loud noises are more likely to suffer from this condition, including work-related noises and recreational activities, like concerts, festivals, and activities related to crowded areas.
People were treated mostly with medication prescribed by their regular physicians, but half of the patients did not even discuss the condition with professionals. The most severe cases tend to rely on hearing-aid devices.
How to effectively treat Tinnitus?
“Tinnitus is intimately tied to hearing loss. Cognitive behavioral therapy is widely accepted and promoted by our national professional society, but very few people know about it. It’s about converting the way in which you think about tinnitus from negative emotions and trains of thought to more positive trains of thought,” said Lin, the leader of the research group and a major specialist in ear surgery at the Irvine Medical Center in California.
The report stated as well that the hearing loss problem could profoundly affect the brain’s process to understand sensations. The ability to hear certain ranges of sound is linked to the feel mechanism of the human body. Doctor should evaluate the situation since the sensation can be the result of something -like wax- blocking the audition channel, or the result of some other health condition or reaction to a medicine that can be creating the annoying sensation. ENT Doctors (ear, nose, and throat) are the experts if the problem is too severe. Neurological treatment may be needed as well.
Source: JAMA Otolaryngology