Have you ever suffered from ringing? If you have, a new study featured in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery says you’re not the only one.
In fact, tinnitus – hearing a buzzing or ringing without any outside noise – is quite spread among the US population. Although it’s not a serious condition, tinnitus could be a sign pointing to an underlying problem, such as a circulatory system disorder or even hearing loss.
Most people have experienced buzzing, clicking, ringing or hissing sounds in their ears every once in a while, but some hear them more often than others. In those cases, the annoying sounds can disturb their sleep patterns, affect their concentration and emotions, and mess with other aspects of their day to day lives.
It might be a scary thing, hearing these noises caused by tinnitus, but according to the most recent survey, approximately one in 10 American adults have experienced these sounds in the past year.
More than 75,000 participants (aged 18 and older) have participated in the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, so researchers used this data to analyze the situation on a nationwide level. In the survey, respondents were asked about whether or not they experience ear ringing, and if so, how severe and how often.
The authors of the study discovered that some 36 percent of the participants in the survey reported constant symptoms of tinnitus. Roughly 56 percent of adults reported that the ringing in their ears hasn’t stopped for more than five years, while 27 percent reported its occurrence for 15 years or more.
Nearly 40 percent of the respondents reported that they noticed the ringing sensations were more audible close to bedtime. This could be caused by the quietness which allows us to hear sounds more easily.
Evidently, people who are exposed to loud noises often are more prone to ringing ears – including concert-goers, factory workers, and soldiers in the armed forces who have been exposed to noise trauma.
While 42 percent of participants had never talked to their doctors about their symptoms, there are a set of treatment guidelines that can ease the annoyance of tinnitus.
Hearing aids can reduce the sound for those who are experiencing hearing loss. Tinnitus patients can also opt for sound machines, whose contribution can be soothing at bedtime.
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