Many people around the world suffer from chronic noises in their ears
The term tinnitus is a disease in which those affected hear a constant, disturbing sound in their ears. In the United States alone, at least one in ten adults suffer from what is known as chronic tinnitus. Researchers found that tinnitus is more common in people who are regularly exposed to a noisy environment. In their study, the experts also explained the correct way to deal with the disease and effective ways to minimize the effects.
Scientists from the University of California have now found in a new study that at least 10 percent of people over 18 in the United States have had tinnitus in the past 12 months. The doctors published the results of their new study in the English-language journal "JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery".
In Germany, about 15 percent of older people suffer from tinnitus
Tinnitus can appear as an independent monosymptomatic disease, but often the disease is a symptom of another disease. In Germany alone, about 15 percent of older people hear a constant and long-lasting sound in their ears. Many of those affected describe the noise as a type of buzzing in the ears, roaring, humming, beating, hissing or whistling, the experts explain. Earlier research had shown that even eight to 25.3 percent of all people in the United States could suffer from tinnitus.
Tinnitus disturbs concentration and sleep
A tinnitus disease is not only very annoying, it can also have a devastating effect on the quality of life of the person concerned, says author Dr. Harrison Lin from the University of California. Due to the disturbed processing of thoughts, emotions and auditory signals, both sleep and concentration are disturbed, the researchers explain. For their new study, the doctors analyzed the data collected from various older studies.
27 percent of respondents have had tinnitus for more than 15 years
During the examinations, people with symptoms of irritating ears were asked how often the noises occurred, how long they lasted and how pronounced the volume of the noises was, explains Dr. Lin. In addition, the experts wanted to know whether those affected had consulted a doctor and whether treatments had been started. The evaluated data showed that 36 percent of people with tinnitus have almost constant symptoms. About 56 percent of men and women reported that they had been living with the ears for more than five years. 27 percent of those questioned had had the disease for more than 15 years.
Excessive noise pollution is often the cause of ringing in the ears. If people are regularly exposed to loud noises at work, their likelihood of developing tinnitus increases. The situation is similar with people whose personal pursuits included frequent concerts, motorcycling or the use of noisy tools or machines, says Dr. Lin.
Many sufferers have trouble sleeping
Almost forty percent of adults with tinnitus additionally stated that they had noticed problems before going to bed. The calm before bedtime can bring the sound of tinnitus to the fore. This can lead to insomnia, fear and anger, explains Dr. Lin.
How can you fall asleep better with tinnitus?
There are, however, some tricks to make bedtime easier for people with tinnitus. Affected people can use a device that, for example, imitates the sounds of nature. For example, it could reproduce the sounds of a waterfall, ocean waves, or birdsong, Dr. Alternatively, sufferers could turn on a fan or fan to drown out the annoying ear noise. Thereby, the perception of tinnitus takes a back seat, allowing the person concerned to finally relax and fall asleep.
Hearing aids reduce the sounds of tinnitus
There are two types of treatment that have long been recommended by guidelines. One of these is the routine use of hearing aids, since the vast majority of people with chronic tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss, explains Dr. A hearing aid can not only alleviate hearing loss, but also improve tinnitus symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help with tinnitus
The second recommended treatment involves cognitive behavior therapy. This form of psychotherapy can improve tolerance of persistent tinnitus, explains author Dr. Cognitive behavioral therapy can transform negative emotions and thoughts associated with tinnitus into positive and constructive emotions.
Be sure to see a specialist if you experience tinnitus
Whether tinnitus is an occasional complaint or a chronic annoyance, people affected should try to minimize all of the loud noises at work and at home. People who suffer from regular ringing in the ears should have a hearing test carried out and, if necessary, seek help from an ear, nose and throat doctor. (as)