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What is tinnitus? Can it be treated?
Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. It is a very common problem affecting approximately 15 to 20 percent of people. Most causes of tinnitus are not harmful, and the symptom is most commonly associated with old age.
However, tinnitus is starting to affect a growing number of younger people as a result of the general increase in noise levels in today’s society.
The most common cause of tinnitus is damage to the sensitive hearing nerves inside the inner ear. Sounds pass from the outer ear, through the middle ear, and on to the inner ear, which contains the cochlea and the auditory nerve. The cochlea is a coiled, spiral tube that contains many sensitive hair cells. The auditory nerve transmits sounds to the brain. If the tiny nerves inside your ear are damaged, or destroyed, an abnormal stream of impulses is produced that the brain interprets as a sound. These impulses cause the noise that is associated with tinnitus. In older people, tinnitus is often caused by natural hearing loss (sensorineural hearing loss), which lessens the sensitivity of the hearing nerves. In younger people, tinnitus can sometimes occur as a result of hearing damage that is caused by excessive noise.
The exact cause of tinnitus cannot always be identified, even after examination by a specialist. However, as well as natural hearing deterioration and hearing damage, there are a number of other possible causes of tinnitus.
Less commonly, tinnitus may also develop as a result of:
Stress is not a direct cause of tinnitus but it can sometimes make the symptom worse. For example, some people have reported that their tinnitus was worse during stressful events in their life, such as bereavement.
You can see what services are provided at Egan’s for tinnitus management here. If you have any questions or concerns about tinnitus, please do not hesitate to contact Egan’s online or call us on 021 4276414.