Do you have that sometimes irritating ringing in your ears? If so, then perhaps you’re one in every ten Americans that has persistent buzzing or ringing in the ears, or sometimes in the head. It’s called tinnitus. Surprisingly, scientists have been studying it, and the goals are to find out its prevalence in the country, and how to avoid it.
As published by NPR, the research was written for the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Ear surgeon Harrison Lin of the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, and one of the three authors of the study, has spoken with the online publication, and he revealed that tinnitus is connected with hearing loss.
When someone loses the ability to hear a certain range of sound, their brain might “chime in” with its own iteration. It is similar to a soldier who can still feel pain in the limb that they’ve lost. Interestingly, the study also has found that people with tinnitus rarely talk about it with their doctors.
Buzzing in the ear of Americans
The team looked at the national survey of more than seventy-five thousand people, and they found that about twenty-seven percent confirmed experiencing its symptoms for more than fifteen years. Meanwhile, over a third–or about thirty-six percent–said they were experiencing symptoms nearly constant.
In a press release for the study, the study team revealed that higher rates of tinnitus were reported in those with consistent exposure to loud noises, either at work or during recreational time. In addition, they’ve also found a link between it and the years of exposure to deafening work.
For the subjective severity, the team has found that seven point two percent reported their tinnitus as “a big or a very big problem,” while forty-two percent said it is “a small problem.” Only forty-nine percent had discussed their tinnitus with their doctors.
For treatments, Lin said that hearing aids work, also psychotherapy. The latter is being promoted by their national professional society, he said, because it’s about changing the way affected people think about tinnitus.
The study is titled “Prevalence, Severity, Exposures, and Treatment Patterns of Tinnitus in the United States,” and it’s an online-first publication accessible via the JAMA website.