Tinnitus is a condition many people experience, which can signal potential health risks, affecting quality of life.
This is the result of a study based on 50 years of statistics, published in Jama Neurology recently. An estimated 14% of adults have tinnitus, of which 2% are severe. The incidence did not differ significantly by sex, but increased with age. The prevalence of tinnitus among 18-44 year olds is 10%, 45-64 year olds are 14% and those over 65 are 24%.
These figures show that tinnitus is quite common globally, similar to migraine or other types of muscle pain, the researchers say.
Symptom: Tinnitus is a condition in which a ringing sound is heard in the ear. However, types of noise often take many forms such as whistles, crackles, hisses, humming… In a few cases, even music. According to the American Tinnitus Association, the condition can be temporary or chronic. Tinnitus itself is not a disease but can be a symptom of potential health risks.
Reason: In most cases, tinnitus is a response of the brain to damage inside the ear or the auditory system. However, experts say that tinnitus can also be a symptom of about 200 health problems such as other hearing loss, obstructions in the ear, head and neck injuries, etc.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, even simple causes like earwax blocking the ear canal can cause tinnitus. This condition is also the first sign of hearing loss in older adults. Many people have tinnitus for no apparent reason. Scientists still don’t agree on what causes the brain to create hallucinations of sound.
Affect: Tinnitus is not usually a sign of serious health symptoms. However, when the sounds in the ears are too loud and prolonged, it can lead to problems with memory, concentration, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Some cases may be related to mental or emotional problems. The American Tinnitus Association also states that chronic tinnitus can interfere with the ability to work and connect socially.
People at risk of tinnitus: The elderly, active in the military, veterans, those working in noisy environments, musicians are often at higher risk of tinnitus than usual.
Treatment method: Currently, there is no cure for most cases of tinnitus. However, some therapies can reduce the effects and help patients live more comfortably.
People with this condition should see a doctor to check for any foreign bodies such as earwax blocking the ear canal. Your doctor may recommend the use of certain devices to block out the noise and relieve symptoms.
Thao Mien (Follow SCMP)