The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to seek professional advice. Your family doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your hearing problem. Or, your doctor may refer you to other experts, like an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) or an audiologist (health professional who can identify and measure hearing loss).
If you are experiencing hearing loss, you should see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist, who can make a specific diagnosis for you, and talk to you about treatment options, including surgical procedures. A critical part of the evaluation will be a hearing test (audiogram) performed by an audiologist (a professional who tests hearing function) to determine the severity of your loss as well as determine if the hearing loss is conductive, sensorineural, or a mix of both.
Deafness is defined as a degree of loss such that a person is unable to understand speech, even in the presence of amplification.[15] In profound deafness, even the highest intensity sounds produced by an audiometer (an instrument used to measure hearing by producing pure tone sounds through a range of frequencies) may not be detected. In total deafness, no sounds at all, regardless of amplification or method of production, can be heard.
While the American College of Physicians indicated that there is not enough evidence to determine the utility of screening in adults over 50 years old who do not have any symptoms,[99] the American Language, Speech Pathology and Hearing Association recommends that adults should be screened at least every decade through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter, to minimize the detrimental effects of the untreated condition on quality of life.[100] For the same reason, the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion included as one of Healthy People 2020 objectives: to increase the proportion of persons who have had a hearing examination.[101]

A lot of people have found that using background sound helps them – this can be a radio, music, or using natural sounds. People are really good at figuring out ways of making things better for themselves and you might already be aware that you generally don’t notice the tinnitus as much when there is background noise. By using sound at other times, you’re just using other ways of doing what you already know to be helpful.
Vertigo is the subjective sensation of the surroundings moving or spinning. It is a symptom of inner ear disease (peripheral) or disorders associated with the brain (central). The cause of many cases of vertigo are unknown (idiopathic) although peripheral vertigo may be related to infection, trauma or chemical irritation of the semicircular canals. Central vertigo may be seen in conditions like multiple sclerosis or strokes.
As of 2018 there were no medications effective for idiopathic tinnitus.[3][74][94] There is not enough evidence to determine if antidepressants[95] or acamprosate are useful.[96] There is no high-quality evidence to support the use of benzodiazepines for tinnitus.[3][94][97] Usefulness of melatonin, as of 2015, is unclear.[98] It is unclear if anticonvulsants are useful for treating tinnitus.[3][99] Steroid injections into the middle ear also do not seem to be effective.[100][101] There is no evidence to suggest that the use of betahistine to treat tinnitius is effective.[102]
^ El Dib RP, Mathew JL, Martins RH (April 2012). El Dib RP (ed.). "Interventions to promote the wearing of hearing protection". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 4 (4): CD005234. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005234.pub5. PMID 22513929. (Retracted, see doi:10.1002/14651858.cd005234.pub6. If this is an intentional citation to a retracted paper, please replace {{Retracted}} with {{Retracted|intentional=yes}}.)
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Hearing loss may be caused by a number of factors, including: genetics, ageing, exposure to noise, some infections, birth complications, trauma to the ear, and certain medications or toxins.[2] A common condition that results in hearing loss is chronic ear infections.[2] Certain infections during pregnancy, such as cytomegalovirus, syphilis and rubella, may also cause hearing loss in the child.[2][10] Hearing loss is diagnosed when hearing testing finds that a person is unable to hear 25 decibels in at least one ear.[2] Testing for poor hearing is recommended for all newborns.[8] Hearing loss can be categorized as mild (25 to 40 dB), moderate (41 to 55 dB), moderate-severe (56 to 70 dB), severe (71 to 90 dB), or profound (greater than 90 dB).[2] There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.[3]
Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is the most common cause of tinnitus. Up to 90% of people with tinnitus have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. The noise causes permanent damage to the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea, a spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear. Carpenters, pilots, rock musicians, street-repair workers, and landscapers are among those whose jobs put them at risk, as are people who work with chain saws, guns, or other loud devices or who repeatedly listen to loud music. A single exposure to a sudden extremely loud noise can also cause tinnitus.
The accepted definition of chronic tinnitus, as compared to normal ear noise experience, is five minutes of ear noise occurring at least twice a week.[51] However, people with chronic tinnitus often experience the noise more frequently than this and can experience it continuously or regularly, such as during the night when there is less environmental noise to mask the sound.
If you have good hearing, your doctor may suggest a sound generator. These used to be called masking devices. There are two main types. One is a portable machine that produces calming sounds. The other fits to your ear like a hearing aid and produces a constant low-level noise or tone, sometimes called white noise, masking (covering up) the tinnitus. This may also help your brain get used to the tinnitus. Some people find that sound generators interfere with their hearing while they’re using them.
“Meanwhile, men seeking ED treatment should be very wary of non-doctors and chiropractors treating patients with what they say is shockwave therapy but is actually an acoustic vibrator,” he said. “Men are vulnerable and will do anything to have sex; men are willing to do anything to achieve an erection. It’s important for doctors and the medical community to keep an eye on what is correct.”
Your doctor or specialist may suggest you get a hearing aid. Hearing aids are electronic, battery-run devices that make sounds louder. There are many types of hearing aids. Before buying a hearing aid, find out if your health insurance will cover the cost. Also, ask if you can have a trial period so you can make sure the device is right for you. An audiologist or hearing aid specialist will show you how to use your hearing aid.
There can be damage either to the ear, whether the external or middle ear, to the cochlea, or to the brain centers that process the aural information conveyed by the ears. Damage to the middle ear may include fracture and discontinuity of the ossicular chain. Damage to the inner ear (cochlea) may be caused by temporal bone fracture. People who sustain head injury are especially vulnerable to hearing loss or tinnitus, either temporary or permanent.[73][74]
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If you think your child has tinnitus, see your child’s GP. They may refer your child to a paediatric ENT specialist for further tests. Therapy and support are available for your child if they are diagnosed with tinnitus and they are bothered or distressed by it. If your child is not bothered by their tinnitus, you may just need reassurance about their condition.
While the American College of Physicians indicated that there is not enough evidence to determine the utility of screening in adults over 50 years old who do not have any symptoms,[99] the American Language, Speech Pathology and Hearing Association recommends that adults should be screened at least every decade through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter, to minimize the detrimental effects of the untreated condition on quality of life.[100] For the same reason, the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion included as one of Healthy People 2020 objectives: to increase the proportion of persons who have had a hearing examination.[101]

Conductive hearing loss makes all sounds seem faint or muffled. The hearing loss is usually worse in lower frequencies. Congenital conductive hearing loss is identified through newborn hearing screening or may be identified because the baby has microtia or other facial abnormalities. Conductive hearing loss developing during childhood is usually due to otitis media with effusion and may present with speech and language delay or difficulty hearing. Later onset of conductive hearing loss may have an obvious cause such as an ear infection, trauma or upper respiratory tract infection or may have an insidious onset related to chronic middle ear disease, otosclerosis or a tumour of the naso-pharynx. Earwax is a very common cause of a conductive hearing loss which may present suddenly when the wax blocks sound from getting through the external ear canal to the middle and inner ear.


Disorders responsible for hearing loss include auditory neuropathy,[57][58] Down syndrome,[59] Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease variant 1E,[60] autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, meningitis, cholesteatoma, otosclerosis, perilymph fistula, Ménière's disease, recurring ear infections, strokes, superior semicircular canal dehiscence, Pierre Robin, Treacher-Collins, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Pedreds, and Turners syndrome, syphilis, vestibular schwannoma, and viral infections such as measles, mumps, congenital rubella (also called German measles) syndrome, several varieties of herpes viruses,[61] HIV/AIDS,[62] and West Nile virus.

Having information about tinnitus can be very helpful. A lot of people start off looking online and while there is some fantastic information available on the internet, there is also a lot of very unhelpful information. An easy way to ensure what you are reading is appropriately written and produced is to check that the Information Standard has been adhered to - all our information complies with the Information Standard.
Tinnitus may be classified in two types: subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus.[3] Tinnitus is usually subjective, meaning that the sounds the person hears are not detectable by means currently available to physicians and hearing technicians.[3] Subjective tinnitus has also been called "tinnitus aurium", "non-auditory" or "non-vibratory" tinnitus. In rare cases, tinnitus can be heard by someone else using a stethoscope. Even more rarely, in some cases it can be measured as a spontaneous otoacoustic emission (SOAE) in the ear canal. This is classified as objective tinnitus,[3] also called "pseudo-tinnitus" or "vibratory" tinnitus.
When the sound waves reach the inner ear, they travel through the fluids of the cochlea. The cochlea is a snail-shaped structure in the inner ear. In the cochlea, there are nerve cells with thousands of miniature hairs attached to them. These hairs help convert the sound wave vibrations into electrical signals that then travel to your brain. Your brain interprets these electrical signals as sound. Different sound vibrations create different reactions in these tiny hairs, signaling different sounds to your brain.
When the sound waves reach the inner ear, they travel through the fluids of the cochlea. The cochlea is a snail-shaped structure in the inner ear. In the cochlea, there are nerve cells with thousands of miniature hairs attached to them. These hairs help convert the sound wave vibrations into electrical signals that then travel to your brain. Your brain interprets these electrical signals as sound. Different sound vibrations create different reactions in these tiny hairs, signaling different sounds to your brain.
❒ Hearing Changes: Loss of hearing is quite common in case of inner ear infections. Hearing loss may be partial or total. Some people also complain of distorted or fluctuating hearing. Ringing in the ear as well as other sounds such as popping, cracking, clicking or hissing sounds are also very common. Sensitivity to loud noise can also indicate that the person might be suffering from problems of the inner ear.

On examination of the affected ear, the ear canal and tympanic membrane generally appear healthy and normal. ASD symptoms are subjective, so an experienced clinician makes a diagnosis on the basis of a thorough case history noting the pattern of symptoms; their onset, persistence and escalation; and their link with exposure to intolerable (or difficult to tolerate) sounds. If they have developed in association with acoustic incident exposure and/or hyperacusis is present, it is likely that they are a result of TTTS. The symptoms are remarkably consistent.
Audiologists recommend taking care of the conductive component first. There have been times when the addition of the conductive component made the person a better hearing aid candidate, by flattening out the audiogram for example, while the underlying sensorineural component presented a high-frequency loss. However, the emphasis would still be on treating medically what can be treated. Generally, you would expect positive results.
Try the skull-thumping trick. If you're coming home from a concert or a club, and your ears won't stop ringing, it's because you've damaged some of the little hairs in your cochlea, which causes inflammation and stimulation of nerves. Your brain interprets this inflammation as constant ringing or buzzing, and this trick can help make that annoying sound go away.

Assessment of psychological processes related to tinnitus involves measurement of tinnitus severity and distress (i.e., nature and extent of tinnitus-related problems), measured subjectively by validated self-report tinnitus questionnaires.[16] These questionnaires measure the degree of psychological distress and handicap associated with tinnitus, including effects on hearing, lifestyle, health and emotional functioning.[63][64][65] A broader assessment of general functioning, such as levels of anxiety, depression, stress, life stressors and sleep difficulties, is also important in the assessment of tinnitus due to higher risk of negative well-being across these areas, which may be affected by or exacerbate the tinnitus symptoms for the individual.[66] Overall, current assessment measures are aimed to identify individual levels of distress and interference, coping responses and perceptions of tinnitus in order to inform treatment and monitor progress. However, wide variability, inconsistencies and lack of consensus regarding assessment methodology are evidenced in the literature, limiting comparison of treatment effectiveness.[67] Developed to guide diagnosis or classify severity, most tinnitus questionnaires have been shown to be treatment-sensitive outcome measures.[68]

Vivien Williams: …become fewer or don't function well. Hearing aids help to increase volume. For people with profound hearing loss, cochlear implants work by bypassing the hair cells and sending signals directly to the hearing nerve and brain. Once health care professionals figure out your type of hearing loss, they can tailor treatment that's best for you. For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Vivien Williams.
About half of hearing loss globally is preventable through public health measures.[2] Such practices include immunization, proper care around pregnancy, avoiding loud noise, and avoiding certain medications.[2] The World Health Organization recommends that young people limit exposure to loud sounds and the use of personal audio players to an hour a day in an effort to limit exposure to noise.[11] Early identification and support are particularly important in children.[2] For many, hearing aids, sign language, cochlear implants and subtitles are useful.[2] Lip reading is another useful skill some develop.[2] Access to hearing aids, however, is limited in many areas of the world.[2]
Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs), which are faint high-frequency tones that are produced in the inner ear and can be measured in the ear canal with a sensitive microphone, may also cause tinnitus.[6] About 8% of those with SOAEs and tinnitus have SOAE-linked tinnitus,[need quotation to verify] while the percentage of all cases of tinnitus caused by SOAEs is estimated at about 4%.[6]

Hearing loss can be inherited. Around 75–80% of all these cases are inherited by recessive genes, 20–25% are inherited by dominant genes, 1–2% are inherited by X-linked patterns, and fewer than 1% are inherited by mitochondrial inheritance.[55] Syndromic deafness occurs when there are other signs or medical problems aside from deafness in an individual,[55] such as Usher syndrome, Stickler syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, Alport's syndrome, and neurofibromatosis type 2. Nonsyndromic deafness occurs when there are no other signs or medical problems associated with an individual other than deafness.[55]
Vinodh and Veeranna9 argue that pure tone audiometry is an insensitive method of detecting subtle cochlear damage and if a more sensitive technique such as distortion product otoacoustic emission testing is used cochlear defects can be found in many patients with acoustic shock. Some workers have noted a high prevalence of previous mental health symptoms among people with acoustic shock leading to the suggestion that there is a psychological component.7 One recent publication has suggested that the condition is usually psychogenic in origin and malingering or hysteria may be involved.9 This latter theory is opposed by the majority of workers in the field.

Hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact people’s quality of life and their mental state. If you develop hearing loss, you may have difficulty understanding others. This can increase your anxiety level or cause depression. Treatment for hearing loss may improve your life significantly. It may restore self-confidence while also improving your ability to communicate with other people.
The initial physiological symptoms of acoustic shock are considered to be a direct consequence of excessive, involuntary middle ear muscle contractions. While the stapedial reflex is an acoustic reflex triggered by high volume levels, the tensor tympani reflex is a startle reflex (6, 7) which is exaggerated by high stress levels. The tensor tympani muscle contracts immediately preceding the sounds produced during self-vocalisation, suggesting it has an established protective function to loud sounds (1), assists in the discrimination of low frequency sounds (8), and is involved in velopharyngeal movements (8).
On examination of the affected ear, the ear canal and tympanic membrane generally appear healthy and normal. ASD symptoms are subjective, so an experienced clinician makes a diagnosis on the basis of a thorough case history noting the pattern of symptoms; their onset, persistence and escalation; and their link with exposure to intolerable (or difficult to tolerate) sounds. If they have developed in association with acoustic incident exposure and/or hyperacusis is present, it is likely that they are a result of TTTS. The symptoms are remarkably consistent.
Exposure to loud noise. Loud noises, such as those from heavy equipment, chain saws and firearms, are common sources of noise-related hearing loss. Portable music devices, such as MP3 players or iPods, also can cause noise-related hearing loss if played loudly for long periods. Tinnitus caused by short-term exposure, such as attending a loud concert, usually goes away; both short- and long-term exposure to loud sound can cause permanent damage.
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