If you operate in a workplace, or you are exposed to settings where excessive noise is present, you may experience ‘ringing in the ears’.

What is tinnitus and what are the symptoms?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external sound is actually there at all. It causes a ‘ringing in the ears’ sensation. The sounds can vary from person to person; you may experience a clicking, buzzing or chirping sound. It can be soft, loud, low or high pitched. You may hear a constant noise, or it may be intermittent, steady or pulsating. The sound may feel like it’s only coming from one ear, or at other times – from both ears. You may feel like the sound is coming from inside your head, or from a distance.

For most of us, tinnitus is a short-term affliction, which can be solved. A common example is when you have attended a loud music or rock concert, which often triggers ringing in the ears, or short-term tinnitus.

But when it lasts for more than six months, it’s referred to as ‘chronic tinnitus’.

Some people even hear the sound of their heartbeat ‘inside their ear’ – this is referred to as ‘pulsatile tinnitus’. This is more prevalent in older people, as the blood flow tends to be more turbulent in arteries whose walls have stiffened with age.

Although tinnitus can present in many different forms, it is growing at an alarming rate!

The science behind noise-induced hearing loss

When sound enters the ear canal to the middle and inner ear, hair cells help to transform sound waves into electrical signals. These signals then travel to the brain’s auditory cortex. When hair cells become damaged – by excessive loud noise – the circuits in the brain fail to receive the correct signals. This results in abnormal activity in the neurons, which results in the illusion of sound.

A lot of people will panic that they are going deaf when they are suffering from tinnitus, but that’s rarely the case.

What can trigger noise-induced hearing loss, or tinnitus?

  • Exposure to excessive loud noise
  • Taking aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Impacted earwax
  • Middle ear problems (such as infections and vascular tumours)
  • Ageing
  • It can also be a symptom of Meniere’s disease – a disorder in the inner ear.

Whatever your symptoms are, almost everyone experiences tinnitus at some stage in their life.

If you are exposed to settings where excessive loud noise is present, you may be at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss, or tinnitus.

For more information on how you can prevent it from occurring, talk to one of our experts at Hearsafe Australia today, by calling 1300 425 496. We’re here to help!