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What causes hearing loss?Losing your hearing is a normal and inevitable part of the ageing process. Action on Hearing Loss: Enjoy the sparks but avoid the ringing in your ears this bonfire night. Michael Rothschild, MD, director, pediatric otolaryngology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. To provide even greater transparency and choice, we are working on a number of other cookie-related enhancements.
Posted on May 15, 2014November 29, 2015 by Damon GrantAre Your Ears Ringing, and Why You Should Be Worried About It!
The risk to your hearing from noise exposure depends on how loud the volumes are AND how long you’re exposed to them. A decibel is a unit used to measure the intensity of a sound or the power level of an electrical signal by comparing it with a given level on a logarithmic scale. One way that noise can permanently damage your hearing is by a single brief exposure to a high noise level, such as a firecracker going off near your ear. The generally accepted standard to monitor any risk to your hearing is based on an exposure to 85 dB for a maximum of eight hours per day, followed by at least ten hours of recovery time (at 70 dB or lower). I keep my earplugs with me pretty much all the time, and especially if I am heading out to see some music or a social event where there might be loud noise (like a bar or sports arena). Lastly, I try to get my hearing checked (and ears professionally cleaned) by my ear, nose, and throat doctor about once a year.
Noise levels louder than a shouting match can damage parts of our inner ears called hair cells. A­When you hear exceptionally loud noises, your stereocilia become damaged and mistakenly keep sending sound information to the auditory nerve cells.
Read on to find out exactly how something invisible like sound can harm our ears, how you can protect those precious hair cells and what happens when the ringing never stops.
John, a sixty-seven-year-old man, recently retired from teaching high school, then went back to work as a security guard at the school gate. I determined that John probably had tinnitus, the symptoms of which are hearing phantom sounds in the ear, including buzzing, clicking, hissing, ringing, or whistling, when there is no external noise. Subjective tinnitus is the most common form, and only the person can hear or feel it in this type. Objective tinnitus is the type where both the patient and the doctor doing the examination can feel the sound.
The above depicts the organ of corti of inner ear, there are about 15,000 micorscopic sensory hair cells, which are very fragile and easily damaged.
For this type of tinnitus, the treatment might be lidocaine injections to the inner ear, and benzodiazepine to calm the person and decrease his or her anxiety, tricyclic antidepressants to decrease depression, or carbamazepine and melatonin to help decrease the tinnitus. John underwent TCM treatment for reducing excessive heat with SI 19 Ting Gong and GB 2 Ting Hui points on both sides, and Liv 3 Tai Chong and St 36 Zu San Li, all of which were utilized to decrease excessive heat in the kidney and to improve his kidney and stomach function. In my personal experience, the Ting Gong, Ting Hui, and Er Meng are the most important points, and by using this acupuncture treatment plus electrical stimulation each session for 30 minutes three times a week for one to two months, the tinnitus symptoms will most likely greatly decrease. Always massage points SJ 21, SI 19, and GB 2 for 30 minutes each session, 2 sessions per day. Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) says more than 70% of people over the age of 70 have some degree of hearing loss. It is intended for general information purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. There are certain decibels that you can withstand for longer amounts of time, as they are at a lower deibel level.
But hearing damage can also occur gradually at much lower levels of noise, if there is enough exposure over time. I also have a free app on my phone that is a decibel meter so I can measure the noise around me and see if I need to put my earplugs in.
Try to make sure your ENT also has an audiologist on staff, as they can run a bunch of tests and check how your ears are fairing. In the case of rock concerts and fireworks displays, the ringing happens because the tips of some of your stereocilia actually have broken off. Whenever he begins to read, he starts to experiences sound within his ear, though there is no corresponding external sound. The sounds may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and the person may hear it in one or both ears. About one fifth of the population complains of this kind of tinnitus, which can be caused by ear problems in the outer, middle, or inner ear. As people age, they lose hearing because of tremors to the ear through noise, drugs, or chemicals, which damage the portion of the ear that allows them to hear. The hair cells detect any tiny movement of the body in any direction,  after activation of the hair cells by the wave of the body movement,  the hair cells send signals to the underlining tectorial membrane generating an electrical impulse which the brian interprets as sound.  If the hair cells  constant send out the signals after damage,  the patients usually feel contant noise, called tinnutis. If there is an acoustic tumor or an infection, the tumor should be removed, or the infection alleviated.
The gallbladder meridians go up to the top of the head and around the ear; if there is excessive heat, this will go through the ear and cause blockage of energy, so the meridians cannot transmit normal sound to the inner ear. The person feels weak and has a pale face, and the tinnitus is slow and low in pitch; sometimes it is off and on, with the pitch sound decreasing when the person holds her or his breath. After one month, John reported that he began to experience a decrease in the pitch of the tinnitus, and after two months, he reported that he heard no sounds about 70 percent of the time. Acupressure the points with your thumb or knuckle, pressing with comfortable pressure on the points.
Tagged with crackling noise in ears when swallowing is the ringing in your ears cause by a sinus or allergy-problem. However, while many of us will experience gradual loss of hearing over the years, noise exposure at home, work or leisure can also cause impairment.


It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. I definitely monitor the use of my headphones and make sure the volumes are such that I can still hear loud noises like emergency sirens.
I started protecting my ears early in my musical career and I was told I have hearing in the 99th percentile.
The noises around you were muffled briefly, replaced with a buzzing inside your head, almost as if your ears were screaming. When sound waves hit them, they convert those vibrations into electrical currents that our auditory nerves carry to the brain.
When sound waves travel through the ears and reach the hair cells, the vibrations deflect off the stereocilia, causing them to move according to the force and pitch of the vibration. The off-and-on sound can be a strong ringing noise in his right ear, a high-pitched whining noise, buzzing, or hissing. The sound is sometimes continuous, sometimes intermittent, and it may interfere with the ability to concentrate.
It can also be caused by problems with the auditory nerves or the brain stem, which can interrupt the nerve signals as sound. It can be a muscular issue, or it can be caused by blood vessel or inner-ear bone problems. Examples include acoustic shock, external ear infection, ear-wax impaction, lead or mercury poisoning, Meniere’s disease, or such toxic medications as aspirin, erythromycin, or tetracycline. This triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from your ear (auditory nerve) to your brain.
Other methods include electrical stimulation, such as transcranial direct current stimulation, or direct stimulation to the auditory cortex by implanting electrodes.
This type of tinnitus is high pitched, usually accompanied by anxiety, headaches, and sometimes fear, dry mouth, constipation, yellowish urine, and red face; sometimes the chest feels uncomfortable and painful, with red tongue body and yellow tongue coating. This form of tinnitus is often accompanied by dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath, tiredness, and weakness of the legs; sometimes there is a low-grade fever, the palms are hot, there is no taste in the mouth, with a very thin coating on the tongue and a weak pulse.
He was advised to do some exercises and learn to deal with stress, and after three months of treatment his condition was much improved.
It's estimated that 10 million people in the UK – that's one in six - have some level of hearing loss. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the BootsWebMD Site. These vibrate in response to sound waves, while the outer hair cells convert neural signals into tension on a membrane. If I am playing drums somewhere I try to use my in-ear monitors as I can keep an eye (or an ear) on how loud the music is coming back to me. My ENT actually said, “You have eavesdropping level hearing and can probably hear through walls if you wanted to.” However, most people don’t get it checked until it is way too late. Without hair cells, there is nothing for the sound to bounce off, like trying to make your voice echo in the desert. For instance, a melodic piano tune would produce gentle movement in the stereocilia, while heavy metal would generate faster, sharper motion.
However, since you can grow these small tips back in about 24 hours, the ringing is often temporary [source: Preuss]. If he pays attention to something else, he does not experience the tinnitus, but if he is idle or preparing to go to sleep, the sound recurs and can interfere with his ability to either concentrate or hear, which is very frustrating. There are also neurological disorders, such as head injuries, psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety, sclerosis, or metabolic disorders, such as thyroid problems, hyperlipidemia, and vitamin B12 deficiency. While there are many different treatments for tinnitus, none has proven to be entirely reliable.
The treatments mostly used are SJ 5 Wai Guan, SJ 17 Yi Feng, SI 19 Ting Gong, SJ 21 Er Meng, UB 18 Gan Shu, and Liv 3 Tai Chong. This type belongs to a yin deficiency and the treatment should be to tonify the yin and enhance the kidney. Loud noise at workExposure to continuous loud noise during your working day can make you permanently hard of hearing in the long term. Then there are sensing and vibrating cells that carry these vibrations to the brain where in the auditory brainstem, these are converted into audible sounds we can recognize.
You can see the two charts I added to get an idea of how loud certain sounds are acceptable, and for how long. If I am in a situation where wedges or floor monitors are used, then I use my earplugs without question.
This motion triggers an electrochemical current that sends the information from the sound waves through the auditory nerves to the brain. Western medicine treats this condition with gamma knife radiosurgery, cochlear implants, Botox, or medications, such as propanol and clonazepam.
The acupuncture points are UB 23 Sheng Shu, Kid 4 Tai Xi, SJ 17 Yi Feng, SJ 21 Er Meng, SI 19 Ting Gong, GB 2 Ting Hui, SJ 5 Wai Guan, and UB 18 Gan Shu. Jobs that are hazardous to hearing include construction, the military, mining, manufacturing, farming or transportation. It’s that same ringing after turning up your headphones too loud while going for a run, rocking that new Kanye track. It is usually resulting from altered blood flow or increased blood turbulence near the ear. When these hair cells (stereocilia) are overworked (usually exposed to excessive noise levels for long periods of time) they go into shock producing the ringing you hear. The musician type earplugs are great as they lower a lot of the damaging frequencies and you can still discern pitch, in case you need to sing or adjust intonation on a horn, etc. The ENT doctor checked his outer, middle, and inner ears, and found no infection or allergies, and no edema in the ear.
If this happens continuously, they can cease to respond at all to certain frequencies resulting in hearing loss.


The neurologist ordered a CT scan and an MRI, which did not show a tumor or any problem with the brain. The Health and Safety Executive says employers have a duty to protect employees from hearing loss.
That is because there are several different causes for it and most of those are the same conditions that cause hearing loss. He was prescribed such medications as Xanax and tricyclic antidepressants, as well as niacin, all to no avail.
The most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss (loud noises causing damage), but it can also be caused from a side effect of some medications or from an abnormally low level of serotonin activity as a couple of examples. Injury damage or pressure changesTrauma to the head can impact the ear and cause permament hearing loss. Sudden pressure changes, like scuba diving or flying, can also harm the eardrum, middle ear or inner ear.
While eardrums may take a few weeks to get better, serious inner ear damage may require an operation. These are called ototoxic drugs, which may cause damage to the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss, balance problems and tinnitus. Antibiotics linked to possible permanant hearing loss include: gentamicin, streptomycin and neomycin.
Chronic diseaseSome chronic diseases that are not directly linked to ear issues may trigger hearing loss.
Some types of hearing loss are also linked to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. How you hear – anatomy of the earSound causes the eardrum and its tiny attached bones in the middle part of the ear to vibrate.
The spiral-shaped cochlea in the inner ear transforms sound into nerve impulses that travel to the brain.
The fluid-filled semicircular canals attach to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear and send information on balance and head position to the brain. Growths and tumoursHearing loss can be caused by benign, non-cancerous growths, such as osteomas, exostoses or polyps that block the ear canal. A large neuroma can cause headaches, facial pain or numbness, lack of limb coordination and tinnitus.
Loud bangs!Remember, remember the 5th of November – but also remember to take care of your ears on Bonfire Night!
Exposure to loud noise over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss and while fireworks are lovely to watch, some can break that sound limit with a searing 155 decibels. Gunshots and other explosive noises also pack a punch to your ear, in some cases rupturing eardrums or causing damage to the inner ear.
Loud concerts and tinnitusThat loud buzzing sound in the ears after a loud concert is called tinnitus. The average rock concert exposes you to sound as loud as 110 decibles which can do permamant damage after just 15 minutes. Other noises that break the 85 decibel range and risk permanent hearing loss include power tools, chain saws and leaf blowers.
Prevent tinnitus and potential hearing loss, which can last days, months or years by using earplugs and limiting noise exposure. Personal music playersIf other people can hear the music you're listening to through your earphones, you may be at risk of permanent hearing loss.
A recent survey revealed that over 92% of young people listen to music on a personal player or mobile phone. Recent EU standards limited the sound on these devices to 85 decibels, but many listeners plan to override the new default volume – saying they want to wipe out background noise. Action for Hearing Loss suggests using noise-cancelling headphones rather than pressing override and risking lifelong damage to your hearing. EarwaxIt may be yucky and unsightly but earwax does serve a useful purpose, protecting the ear canal from dirt and bacteria. However, if earwax builds up and hardens, it can dull your hearing and give you an earache. If you feel your ears are clogged, see your GP or nurse who may suggest olive oil drops to soften and disperse the wax. Don't be tempted to do it yourself with a cotton bud – or any other implement - which only risks damage to the ear. Childhood illnessChildren are susceptible to ear infections, which are among many childhood illnesses that can cause hearing loss. Usually, infections that fill the middle ear with fluid cause only temporary hearing loss but some may cause harm to the middle or inner ear and lead to permanent hearing loss.
Illnesses linked to hearing loss in children include chickenpox, influenza, measles, meningitis, encephalitis and mumps. Born with hearing lossIn the UK, one or two babies in every thousand are born with significant hearing loss. Although congenital hearing loss often runs in families, it can also be triggered by an infection in the mother during pregnancy.
Hearing loss can also develop after lack of oxygen or trauma at birth, or if a newborn is premature. AgeRegardless of how you protect your ears, getting older reduces your hearing as you gradually lose inner ear hair cells. If you are struggling to hear and it is affecting your quality of life, go to your GP or NHS clinic to arrange a hearing test.



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