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The Hear-Ring Lab

FAQ's about Tinnitus

What is the normal process of hearing?
  • A sound is created from changes in air pressure. The pressure changes create sound waves, which will travel through the ear canal to the Tympanic Membrane, or ear drum. The acoustic energy of the sound wave continues from the ear drum to the three small bones within your skull, or the ossicles. The Malleus, the Incus and the Stapes then transfer the energy to the Oval Window on the cochlea from the footplate of the Stapes. This transfer of energy causes the fluids within the cochlea of your inner ear to then move your hair cells. The hair cells will trigger a chemical change which ignites an electrical impulse to the VIII nerve, also known as the Auditory Nerve. The impulse is then directed through the Central Auditory Nervous System, or CANS, which will then process the acoustic information through a series of neural networks and allow you to comprehend the original sound.i
What is tinnitus?
  • Tinnitus pronounced as (TINN-a-tus or ti-NIGHT-us) (latin origin: “to ring or tinkle”)1 is not a disease, but a symptom of a deeper auditory or neurological condition. It is one of the most common health complaints, with roughly 10%-15% of US adults expressing that they suffer from hearing the internal noise.
  • Tinnitus is as varied as the individuals who suffer from the condition. The noise can be experienced as a ringing, buzzing, hissing, clicking, roaring or even as music. The noise can vary in pitch, loudness and include one or both ears. The length and consistency of tinnitus can range from a one-time intermittent episode spanning to a daily continuous burden of the noise. Even though the noise may be heard in your ears, the cause of tinnitus can be damage to any structure(s) in the auditory pathway including the network of brain cells (or neural circuits) that process sound. ii
What are the different types of tinnitus?
What are some causes of tinnitus?
  • Tinnitus can indicate damage to one or more delicate structures of the auditory system. There are multiple causes of tinnitus:
    • Ear and sinus infections
    • Earwax blockage
    • Exposure to loud noise
    • Aging
    • Diseases of the circulatory system
      • Such as Anemia and hypertension
    • Meniere’s disease
    • Certain types of brain tumors
      • Acoustic neuroma which is a noncancerous growth on the VIII nerve
    • Head injury
    • Ototoxic medications and drugs
      • There are over 200 types of medications that can negatively impact an individual’s auditory system. Starting or stopping these medications can lead to tinnitus among other auditory conditions.
  • Health, environmental and lifestyle conditions that may affect tinnitus:

i NIDCD. (n.d.). Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: How can noise damage out hearing? Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss

1 http://www.dictionary.com/browse/tinnitus

ii ASHA. (n.d.). Tinnitus. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Tinnitus/
ATA. (n.d.). Understanding the Facts. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://ata.org/understanding-facts
NIDCD. (n.d.). Tinnitus. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/tinnitus

iii ATA. (n.d.). Understanding the Facts. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://ata.org/understanding-facts
NIDCD. (n.d.). Tinnitus causes and types. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.nfd.org.nz/help-and-advice/hearing-conditions/tinnitus/tinnitus-causes-and-types/
NYU Langone. (n.d.). Types of Tinnitus. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://nyulangone.org/conditions/tinnitus-in-adults/types

iv ASHA. (n.d.). Tinnitus. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Tinnitus/
ATA. (n.d.). Causes. Retrieved July 28, 2017, from http://ata.org/understanding-facts/causes
NIDCD. (n.d.). Tinnitus causes and types. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.nfd.org.nz/help-and-advice/hearing-conditions/tinnitus/tinnitus-causes-and-types/