Do you experience tinnitus in your left ear? Do your ears buzz after attendinga concert? Have you been suffering from tinnitus in your right ear for three days after a bad cold? Do you want to know if you have to go and see a doctor?
The so-called tinnitus, or buzzing in your ears, is the hearing of sound perceived by any individual when no actual external sound is present.
Tinnitus can be permanent or occasional. It can be accompanied by earaches even if it rarely represents a complication. You should however go and see a doctor under certain circumstances.
1. When should you go and see a doctor?
Do you have tinnitus? Are you feeling worried about it? Don’t worry about it, it’s commonplace to be anxious! You’ve probably imagined the worst things possible and are now afraid to be suffering from something serious. Despite your likely anxiety, rest assured because this article will outline the situations that should alleviate your fears and tackle your doubts:
- If the tinnitus remains constant over a long period of time;
- If it has appeared after a head injury or anacoustic trauma and is accompanied by hearing loss, dizziness, headaches or a state of confusion;
- If you come back from a gig or a festival and still suffer from tinnitus 24 hours after;
- If the tinnitus is difficult to handle, if it is accompanied by earaches or if the circumstances do not get better;
- If the tinnitus has appeared right after a respiratory infection with no sign of improvement.
2. What are the most frequent causes of tinnitus?
- An acoustic trauma occurring after a gig;
- An earwax blockage;
- A middle ear infection;
- A high blood pressure;
- Otosclerosis, that is to say an abnormal growth of the bone close to the middle ear that can lead to an hearing loss;
- Ménière’s disease, namely a disorder of the inner ear characterised by episodes of dizziness, ringing in the ear and hearing loss;
- Presbycusis, namely an age-related hearing loss characterised by a progressive hearing loss andtinnitus;
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirins.
3. Is it possible to prevent tinnitus from appearing?
Several types of tinnitus cannot be averted (e.g. those resulting from presbycusis or Ménière’sdisearse). However, it is possible to prevent other causes (e.g. those resulting from an earwax blockage, an acoustic trauma or drugs) of tinnitus.
If you know you are going to be exposed to heavy sounds (e.g. at festivals or nightclubs), you should think about taking some precautionary measures, such as wearing earplugs. You should also avoid drinking when exposed to heavy sounds to preventaltering your auditory perception.
If you want to listen to music on your iPod, keep the overall volume as low as reasonably possible to keep your ears from aging prematurely. Set the volume at half the maximum volume and consider using the earplugs that have been provided with the device, as theycannot exceed 100 decibels.
To prevent earwax blockage, avoid using cotton buds, as they push the earwax back into the ear. Instead, make use of a damp cloth or, preferably, sea salt sprays.
With respect to drug intake, ask your chemist or your general practictionner for advice to avoid taking a toohigh dose.
- Tinnitus is the hearing of droning sounds with no external sound sources present that can vary in intensity and frequency;
- You should visit a doctor after an acoustic or a head trauma, especially if it is accompanied by a decrease in hearing, dizziness or headaches;
- The most frequent causes of tinnitus are acoustic traumas, earwax blockages, middle ear infections, high blood pressure, otosclerosis, Ménière’s disease or presbycusis;
- It is not always possible to prevent tinnitus from rearing up it’s headeven if some measures can be taken, such as wearing earplugs or listening to music at a reasonable volume.