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Tinnitus

Musicians, Music Lovers and Military Maintain Greatest Risk for Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is often described as buzzing, ringing, hissing, humming, roaring or whistling that someone hears in the absence of any external sound. More than 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from the condition, according to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA).

The prevalence of tinnitus is no secret in today’s society, with – according to the American Tinnitus Association – more than 50 million people in the United States alone suffering from the condition.

At the same time, accurately diagnosing tinnitus can be challenging, says Curtis Amann, vice president of marketing and sales for Neuromonics, Inc. Described as ringing in the ears when no external sounds are present, tinnitus symptoms are different for each person, Amann said, and can include ringing, buzzing, humming, roaring, or whistling sounds.

Understanding the populations that are at greatest risk for tinnitus can help individuals determine whether they may have the condition. At-risk individuals also can try and lessen exposure to the conditions that may have caused, or are contributing to, their tinnitus.

Military – Usually brought on by exposure to loud noise, tinnitus is especially significant in the military. More than 34 percent of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from the condition, now the No. 1 service-connected disability for veterans from all periods of service. Since 2005, the number of veterans receiving service-connected disability for tinnitus has increased by at least 15 percent each year, according to the American Tinnitus Association. The total number of veterans awarded disability compensation for tinnitus at the end of 2010 surpassed 744,000.

Musicians and music lovers – Any kind of music, ranging from classical to heavy metal, can be too loud. Performers, audio engineers and listeners of all types of music are at risk for noise-induced tinnitus. As technology helps weave music into almost every facet of life, the danger of music that is too loud continues to increase. Individuals will not begin to suffer from tinnitus in the short run; the condition arises as a cumulative effect of noise over a period of years.

Individuals who work near loud equipment – Those who work, or who have previously worked, with aircraft, or loud machinery or other equipment constitute another significant at-risk group. Despite better regulations to control noise levels in the workplace, and hearing protection devices, continual exposure over time to noisy environments may contribute to the incidence of tinnitus.

Seniors – Tinnitus is prevalent as one of many age-related hearing problems in the older population. Causes likely include the cumulative effect of loud noises and general noise pollution over the years.

“We live in an extraordinarily noisy world that is getting noisier by the day,” says Amann. “Tinnitus can strike anyone, at any time, but for individuals particularly at risk, it is important to be aware of the condition, and to take precautions to mitigate levels of noise exposure.”

Today, there is greater hope for tinnitus sufferers, with more effective treatments on the market, explains Amann. Professional audiologists can help at-risk individuals determining whether or not they have tinnitus, and if so, what level, and what treatments are best-suited for them.

Here, are  five common tinnitus myths, and insight into the real facts behind the myths.

1. Tinnitus only affects people who’ve gone to lots of concerts and listened to loud music. While it is true that prolonged exposure to loud noises (music or other) can be one cause of tinnitus, the reality is that tinnitus has many causes – and many people develop tinnitus for no clear reason. People of any gender, age, race, background or profession can suffer from the condition. At the same time, research shows that common elements exist in all tinnitus sufferers. The key to success with treatment is choosing one that effectively addresses these commonalities.                                                                                         

2. Tinnitus will probably just go away on its own. Many people are afraid or embarrassed to mention the sounds to friends, family or associates – let alone seek help. They hope that the ringing will disappear. While tinnitus caused by a medication or other temporary situation may cease if that element is removed, the reality is that tinnitus does not just “go away” for most people. The sooner a sufferer seeks help from a trained audiologist, the better – and sooner – the chances for significant improvement.

3. Tinnitus is an incurable disease. Tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition that can result from a wide range of causes that include everything from exposure to loud noises and certain medication use to underlying neurological damage. While tinnitus itself is not a disease, untreated, it can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. The good news? Tinnitus is one condition that people often can manage with effective treatment.

4. Tinnitus can be cured by cutting out certain foods or other items from the diet. Over time, different foods and additives have received the blame for tinnitus. Research has proven this to be false. Eating a balanced, healthy diet, and getting plenty of exercise, can play important roles in the management of tinnitus. But they can’t “fix” tinnitus on their own.

5.There is no real help for tinnitus. This is the greatest myth of all, according to Amann. More research has lead to more and better treatments for tinnitus. Professional audiologists who specialize in tinnitus can help individuals determine whether or not they have tinnitus, and if the tinnitus is mild, moderate or severe. They can then advise on the best treatments. Some now-available treatments are customized to each patient’s unique hearing profile, and target the underlying auditory, attentional and emotional processes underlying the tinnitus.

“Never before has it been so important to debunk common myths, and separate fact from fiction in the tinnitus world,” said Amann.


Taken from http://www.neuromonics.com/?page_id=1261.
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