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Tinnitus Experienced By 10% Of Americans, Experts Say

A study has just revealed that one out of 10 Americans suffers from tinnitus, a condition that results in ringing in the ears. Medical specialists say that this is most often caused by exposure to high decibel noises, namely music and gunfire. About 36% of people suffer from ongoing tinnitus, the study revealed.

Tinnitus is a condition in the ears that results in persistent buzzing or ringing sounds when there is no actual noise being caused. The noise can vary slightly between sufferers. For those who suffer from ongoing tinnitus, it can detract from mental focus and concentration, and can even leave them sleep deprived.

Doctors leading the study advised that many times the underlying cause of tinnitus can be traced back to occupational hazards, home exposure or lifestyle choices, such as attending loud concerts or frequently visiting the shooting range. Most concerning is noise exposure at home, which doctors say is the most preventable cause of tinnitus.

The study advises that by adding audiological evaluations to a physical exam every few years, doctors can better identify patients with tinnitus, so they can seek an adequate treatment regimen.

More than 76,000 adult men and women took part in the study, which culled data, in part, from the National Health Interview Survey. Using this data, researchers were able to ascertain that approximately 10% of the U.S. population suffers from this hearing disorder. They also found that 27% of sufferers had ongoing symptoms spanning more than 15 years, while 36% suffered from chronic and persistent symptoms. Just 15% suffered from daily symptoms, with the remainder experiencing symptoms less than once per week. Roughly 7% of those included in the study stated that this hearing disorder was a “big problem” in their life. About 42% said it was a “small problem.” Nearly half the participants had consulted with their primary care physician or a specialist to resolve symptoms.

Of the treatment options, doctors advise hear aids, masking devices and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Aside from conventional options, experts say that newer smartphone applications have proven to be veritable. These create white noise and other sounds that you listen to with headphones, and have been shown to greatly aid sufferers.

Researchers have published the report in JAMA.

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20 comments

  1. lots of good comments from lots of good people with whom I share the agony of this mysterious condition/disease that affects listening skills that includes concentration and being able to grasp deeper thought levels necessary to support professionalism. and everyone is different. taking a sedative to sleep when counting sheep just doesn’t “count” when the tinnitus is severe and intrusive of having just a little bit of comfort. it doesn’t seem like we’re asking for much… the hope for a remedy, surgery, meds, laser, ANYTHING. please. for me it disturbs my train of thought and ability to communicate. it’s made me stop in my tracks, “… uh, what was I saying? where was I (with that topic of conversation)? it’s a problem when this condition cannot be “seen” like many other brain degenerations that (pardon the expression, not to infer it’s reflective for anyone) “makes one feel stupid, slow, concerned when it does affect/destroy one’s professionalism amongst peers and the desire to escalate in a career.

    STRESS/ANXIETY are culprit, IMO. why should it take half a day (till meds kick in) to sense relief for the other half of the day?

    RELAXATION/HYPNOSIS/MEDICAL CANNABIS supervised/authorized MD support may become your Band-Aid.

    Why is it so challenging for the ATA to step up and go to bat for us tinnitus-afflicted? something must be done.

    best regards to those who read this input and perhaps consider from what I’ve experienced introspectively and wait, “for whom the bell rings”… maintaining a sense of humor is necessary.

    p.s. – sometimes the best medicines and cures in this life is, just to “hang on”… and hold onto soft and fluffy in order to soothe your heart and soul. and sharing is good.

    yeah, I hear the bells ring, it’s time to get back to class!

  2. I have had ringing in my ears since early teens . I’m 50 now and it is constant . Talked to different MDs and been told the same thing . No cure . No treatment . Never will be a treatment . Just do what works for me . There is no silence for me . Very uncomfortable way to live ! PROTECT YOUR HEARING AT ALL COSTS ! Tinnitus is NOT the way you want to live !

  3. I can’t remember when it started exactly. It was so long ago. I just chalked it up to being around too many Jet Engines in the Air Force and on my job. Some nights it keeps me awake until I feel exhausted and drop off to sleep but fon’t Feel rested in the AM. I keep browsing hoping to learn that someone is making headway toward a fix for it but have given up thinking I can hear the true silence of the forest during a snowstorm.

  4. I am 66 and still have it from time to time. At age 50 it was all the time. Mine is a throbbing sound , a rushing sound. Flexeril helps. Wine makes it worse.

  5. my problem with the high pitch noise ( I choose to call the noise Cicada’s noise) now in addition to the Cicada noise now i hear a pulsating noise keeping up with my heart beat anyone else has this problem ?

    • You might want to look into a condition called superior semicircular canal dehiscence with an ENT doctor who is familiar with it. Check it out online, see if it fits your symptoms. There are many symptoms, one which is hearing your own heart beating, I had that along with hearing my own voice in my head when I talked, called autophany. Surgery had helped. The best to you!

    • Yes I have the heartbeat in my head all of the time
      I can’t sleep well so I wind up keeping the TV on when I’M
      Home. I thought it was my Air Confitioner in the attic
      But it followed me to Orlando. Then I knew it was me
      I have asked several Drs and they don’t see to have a clue.

    • I have had the same problem for about Four years…never any problem with the Ringing in my ears until shortly after the so-called Smart Meter was installed on my home without my knowledge or permission. I finally did some Checking on this Smart Meter and discovered that Many People are experiencing the same health problems such as Ringing in the ears like a Million cicada., not getting proper sleep, erratic heartbeat, nauseous. Worse at different times of the day and especially more noticeable at night so much that even if I manage to fall asleep it wakes me up. I suggest that everyone that has developed this problem to go to their Search Engine and Type In ‘Smart Meters’. You will be amazed at what you will discover. You will never find even a hint of this on the MSM.
      This is not only occurring in this country, but all over the world. Check and Then wonder what it is We are not being told.

  6. I am not a Vet, I have not been to a concert in over 20 years. No loud music, no noise. I noticed it after a car accident just about 3 years ago. I have been suffering ever since. I have not been able to sleep or concentrate on my classes. I can’t stay focus on much of anything. I can’t sleep with anything playing it has to be quiet… HELP

  7. I have had Tinnitus for nearly 40 years. Through the years the sound has gotten progressively worse. I believe mine was definitely caused by years of stress. I have it 24/7. After all kinds of tests, still no relief. Because of always enduring the horrible high pitched sound of my Tinnitus, I began having anxiety attacks. Thankfully my doctor felt if the anxiety was controlled, the Tinnitus would more easily be ignored. He prescribed Cymbalta for me and he was right. Now I am free of anxiety, and hardly pay attention to the Tinnitus. I have wondered if I got rid of the continuous stress, if it would improve even more. Along with their Tinnitus some people have Meniere’s disease. Meniere’s is bouts of extreme dizziness, vertigo and nausea. Still others have hyperacusus with their Tinnitus, which is an oversensitivity to sounds. This can be very severe. ATA, (American Tinnitus Association) has been doing research for the 40 years that I can remember and still no actual cure.

    • There is a tendency to seek logical answers, when none are available, or known. You may have noticed abovementioned conditions labelled diseases, which are almost certainly of human origin accidental or biproducts of such, which are human malfunctions but which by redefinition qualify for government money. I am of the opinion that sometimes asking questions motivated by funding possibilities isn’t the best way to search for truth.

  8. Well I have had ringing in my ears since I was a kid. Finally got to the point when I was older it started making me dizzy to the point I can’t walk. I vomit and feel deathly sick. It got worse when I was only in my 30’s, so to the fella with the answer that we are old and comparing us to cars, etc, if you haven’t experienced what I have, please take it from me, it’s not at all to be taken lightly. It’s a desease and it’s debilitating at best, sometimes. I have hearing loss in both ears, but one is worse. I haven’t found anything that helps. My Dr says that salt can be part of the culprit. I really don’t know. I pray one day that there is a cute to this. I would feel like a new person if it was gone.

    • I read most of the comments and was surprised to find that no one mentioned Menieres disease. Many of you would not fall into this category. However I thought I would mention it because of a few things that were discussed. This disease comes on suddenly and there is no cure. It is an excess of salt in the body. It affects the ears. Fluid goes into the ear and people who have this get very dizzy and nauseous. It also has a big influence on balance. I have had this for 2 1/2 years. There are only 2 things that keep it in check. One is a water pill and the other is to practically eliminate salt from the diet. I also noticed that sleeping badly makes it worse. Sometimes I have no noise in my ear at all and other times it is a warning that I have ingested something with salt. Hope this helps someone.

      • I’m in two md disease groups on Facebook. Although there is thought that salt may exerbate the symptoms it is not usually refered to as the cause.It does seem salt intake worsens Menieres symptoms in some.

  9. In recent years, I found I have had it too. but I have solved it for me. I was taking a lot of aspirin and it was prescribed by my doctor followed by taking something for my stomach. When the doctors cleared up the two things that were causing me debilitating pain, I stopped taking the aspirin, it went away. Large doses of aspirin was what caused myringing.

  10. I agree it is a Disabling condition. I have been through numerous hearing/ tinnitus Tests. In 2005 is when my age to be done and still to this day complicates my life. Well I do not feel good it seems to be worse . If I keep myself busy it’s not as prominent. My aunt had it but she was lucky and it went away. I wish mine would leave. Good luck😊

  11. I have it all the time. I will sometimes just cry over it. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t remember ever being exposed to loud noises but I know if I am stressed it gets worse. It is just killing me. I can not focus on anything and there is just no peace in my head.

  12. I have it all the time. I will sometimes just cry over it. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t remember ever being exposed to loud noises but I know if I am stressed it gets worse. It is just killing me. I can not focus on anything and there is just no peace in my head.

  13. I ALSO HAVE IT SINCE I WAS IN THE ARMY.I WENT TO THE TARGET RANGE AND LOST MY HEARING FOR ABOUT 5 MINS AND HAD THE CRICKETS SINCE.I HAVE TRIED TO GET A DISABILTY FOR IT SINCE TO NO LUCK SO FAR.

  14. Bobbie Sue Sanders

    It is horrible. It sounds like I am hearing about 5 generators around me like this bbba. Bbba. Bbba. Bbba. Bbba. Sometimes sounds like 5 lawnmowers. Sometimes sounds like I am standing beside the helicopter. Never stops. One time I had inflamed in my hip so doctor gave me steriod shot. Next day to my surprise the sounds were gone so quiet and finally peacefull. It last about three weeks. The sounds came back. Three months later I got another steriod shot for my back. But the sounds didn’t go away like the first time. I wish there is something to stop those pet peeve sounds.

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