What Does It Mean When Your Ears Ring?

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What Does It Mean When Your Ears Ring?
What Does It Mean When Your Ears Ring? (Image: http://georgiahealthinfo.gov/cms/node/105663)

When someone has ringing in the ears, it is called "tinnitus." The definition of tinnitus is perceiving a sound in the ears or head when there is not an actual external source for this sound. Put simply, tinnitus is the "perception" of a non-existing sound. A person hears the ringing in his or her ears or head, but no one else does. This "ringing" is described in different ways, such as buzzing, pulsating, and cricket chirping. Tinnitus is not a condition, but rather a symptom of another physiological problem.

Inner Ear Hair Damage

One of the main reasons for tinnitus is when you damage or injure hairs in your inner ear. When your inner ear senses any sound, very small and delicate hairs move to the sound wave pressure. This makes the ear cells emit an electrical impulse through the nerves in your ear and then on to your brain. The brain translates these impulses as sound. When inner ear hairs are harmed, they release haphazard electrical impulses to the brain and cause tinnitus.

Loud Sounds

In many cases, prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause tinnitus. Sometimes it is only for a brief period of time and then disappears. Other times, the ringing may remain. There are also instances when one very loud sound or even music can cause a permanent loss of hearing and tinnitus.

Warning

If you often listen loud music, and hear ringing in your ears, take this as a warning of possible damage to your hearing. Do not disregard this alarm. You are at risk of permanent hearing loss. You should turn down the volume of the music or use ear plugs that reduce the volume. Any time you go to a very loud indoor concert or dance, or if you play in a band, you should wear ear plugs.

Prevention/Solution

If you go to shooting ranges or have any special interests with loud noises, such as hunting, you also need to wear ear plugs. Shooters and hunters are exposing their inner ears to the some of the loudest noises possible. Even a small caliber gun can cause damage. There are many different types of earplugs from which to choose depending on your specific needs.

Risks

You must also take precautions in other high-volume and noisy settings, such as manufacturing plants, construction sites, and demolition and road work sites with loud equipment. In these cases, the employer must provide the earplugs.

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