Tinnitus (or ringing in the ears) affects 15% percent of the world population. 20% of those with tinnitus are severely disabled, that is 3% of the total population. 1 in 100 patients attempts suicide. The number of young people with tinnitus has doubled in recent years, mainly due to wearing in-ear buds and exposure to noise in nightlife, at festivals and concerts. Scientific research on tinnitus is still in its infancy
Tinnitus is best viewed as a “Phantom Noise”. It is the medical term for “hearing” a continuous sound in the ears when there is no external source for that sound. Tinnitus can come in many forms, such as ringing, squeaking, whistling, hissing, buzzing or white noise. It can appear to originate from one or both ears, from within the head, or even externally. In most cases, the sound is perceived when there is little or no ambient noise.
It was originally assumed that the cause of tinnitus lay in the auditory organ itself. However, recent research shows that the brain is responsible. Hyperactivity in the auditory cortex in the brain causes the emission of continuous signals when there is no sound present, hence the term, “phantom noise”.
THE EXACT CAUSE OF TINNITUS IS NOT KNOWN, AND AS YET, THERE IS NO KNOWN CURE
We do know (some of) the triggers: Noise exposure, Hearing loss, Stress, Burn-out, Fatigue, Posttraumatic Stress disorder, Panic disorder, Anxiety disorder, Depression, Head- (skeletal fracture), Neck- or Barotrauma, High blood pressure, Diabetes, Atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Chronic middle ear infection, Otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease, Lyme disease, Mental disorders, Vestibular Schwannoma, Ear surgery, Von Hippel-Lindau disease, Age-related hearing loss.
AND – SINCE RECENTLY: COVID. Early studies suggests that approximately 15% of Covid patients develop tinnitus.