Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sounds that are not there. If you are suffering from a ringing, buzzing, whooshing or clicking in your ears, you are not alone. Over 50 million Americans report some degree of tinnitus. There are many potential causes, including head injury, medication side effects and some diseases, but tinnitus is typically the result of damage to the auditory system.
Understanding the Facts
- Tinnitus may sound different to everyone. Sounds can vary in volume and may present as a buzzing, humming, whistling or other noise.
- Almost two million people suffer from severe tinnitus that interferes with daily activities.
- Nearly 12 million people have tinnitus so severe they seek medical attention.
- Tinnitus and hearing loss go hand in hand; 90 percent of those suffering from tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss.
- Nearly 40 percent of those with tinnitus experience the symptoms at least 80 percent of their day.
- Around 60 percent of veterans returning from war report tinnitus.
- More than 200 drugs are known to cause tinnitus as a side effect.
- There are two types of tinnitus – subjective and objective. Subjective is tinnitus only you can hear; objective can be heard by your audiologist.
- More than 99 percent of all causes of tinnitus are subjective.
- Stress and anxiety may contribute to tinnitus.
- Cigarette smoke may be harmful to your ears. Studies have linked the toxic chemicals found in the smoke with chronic ear infections and tinnitus.
- There are several groups of people who are at higher risk of developing tinnitus: those who work around loud machinery, musicians, hunters, senior citizens, military personnel and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.