i am currently studying acoustic shock for a course i am taking. i do also work in a headset environment in a large office. I would be interested to hear of anyones experiences of acoustic shock, temporary real or perceived. i myself suffer from the confused hearing loss, unable to clearly know which direction noises are coming from. especially dangerous when you have police, ambulance or fire engine sirens coming close to you. not knowing the direction they are coming from makes it difficult to remove yourself from their way eg at a roundabout… my sleep is also disturbed on occassion, by low drumming noises. this has only happened over the past 5yrs whilst working a lot on the telephone section of my department. a lot of customers answer the phone whilst holding a screaming baby or have a parrot screeching behind them, some shout down the phone suddenly, the noise seems intensified when it is held in a headpiece….
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.
There are three parts to your ear: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The outer ear is the part you can see. It is shaped to focus sound waves into your ear canal, so they travel to your eardrum. The sound waves make your eardrum vibrate. This vibration passes to your middle ear, which contains three small bones (ossicles) called the hammer, anvil and stirrup (named after their shapes). These strengthen the vibrations as they conduct them to your inner ear.
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]
Acoustic qualification of tinnitus will include measurement of several acoustic parameters like frequency in cases of monotone tinnitus or frequency range and bandwidth in cases of narrow band noise tinnitus, loudness in dB above hearing threshold at the indicated frequency, mixing-point, and minimum masking level.[52] In most cases, tinnitus pitch or frequency range is between 5 kHz and 10 kHz,[53] and loudness between 5 and 15 dB above the hearing threshold.[54]
Tinnitus may be perceived in one or both ears. The noise can be described in many different ways but is reported as a noise inside a person's head in the absence of auditory stimulation. It often is described as a ringing noise, but in some people, it takes the form of a high-pitched whining, electric buzzing, hissing, humming, tinging, whistling, ticking, clicking, roaring, beeping, sizzling, a pure steady tone such as that heard during a hearing test, or sounds that slightly resemble human voices, tunes, songs, or animal sounds such as "crickets", "tree frogs", or "locusts (cicadas)".[4] Tinnitus may be intermittent or continuous: in the latter case, it may be the cause of great distress. In some individuals, the intensity may be changed by shoulder, head, tongue, jaw, or eye movements.[7]
Conductive hearing loss results when there is any problem in delivering sound energy to your cochlea, the hearing part in the inner ear. Common reasons for conductive hearing loss include blockage of your ear canal, a hole in your ear drum, problems with three small bones in your ear, or fluid in the space between your ear drum and cochlea. Fortunately, most cases of conductive hearing loss can be improved.

Prevention involves avoiding exposure to loud noise for longer periods or chronically.[2] If there is an underlying cause, treating it may lead to improvements.[3] Otherwise, typically, management involves psychoeducation or counseling as talk therapy.[5] Sound generators or hearing aids may help some.[2] As of 2013, there were no effective medications.[3] It is common, affecting about 10–15% of people.[5] Most, however, tolerate it well, and it is a significant problem in only 1–2% of people.[5] The word tinnitus comes from the Latin tinnire which means "to ring".[3]


Most people do experience some form of ringing in their ears especially in quiet settings. Most tinnitus results from conditions that cause hearing loss. Stress, fatigue and physical exertion may worsen the ringing in the ears. Managing daily stress well, taking care of your body through good nutrition and exercise, avoiding exposure to loud noises should help to minimize ringing in your ears. Also, try using some sort of white noise device such as an air filter, special noise machine, peaceful nature sounds, or music.
Some people experience a sound that beats in time with their pulse, known as pulsatile tinnitus or vascular tinnitus.[39] Pulsatile tinnitus is usually objective in nature, resulting from altered blood flow, increased blood turbulence near the ear, such as from atherosclerosis or venous hum,[40] but it can also arise as a subjective phenomenon from an increased awareness of blood flow in the ear.[39] Rarely, pulsatile tinnitus may be a symptom of potentially life-threatening conditions such as carotid artery aneurysm[41] or carotid artery dissection.[42] Pulsatile tinnitus may also indicate vasculitis, or more specifically, giant cell arteritis. Pulsatile tinnitus may also be an indication of idiopathic intracranial hypertension.[43] Pulsatile tinnitus can be a symptom of intracranial vascular abnormalities and should be evaluated for irregular noises of blood flow (bruits).[44]
Besides research studies seeking to improve hearing, such as the ones listed above, research studies on the deaf have also been carried out in order to understand more about audition. Pijil and Shwarz (2005) conducted their study on the deaf who lost their hearing later in life and, hence, used cochlear implants to hear. They discovered further evidence for rate coding of pitch, a system that codes for information for frequencies by the rate that neurons fire in the auditory system, especially for lower frequencies as they are coded by the frequencies that neurons fire from the basilar membrane in a synchronous manner. Their results showed that the subjects could identify different pitches that were proportional to the frequency stimulated by a single electrode. The lower frequencies were detected when the basilar membrane was stimulated, providing even further evidence for rate coding.[130]

The potential severity and persistence of ASD symptoms have significant clinical and medico-legal implications. With the rapid growth of call centres around the world, professionals providing tinnitus and hyperacusis therapy, as well as general practitioners, ENT specialists, occupational physicians, TMD specialists, neurologists and trauma psychologists/psychiatrists, are increasingly likely to encounter some or all of the cluster of ASD symptoms in their clients.


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.
Subjective tinnitus is the most frequent type of tinnitus. It may have many possible causes, but most commonly it results from hearing loss. When the tinnitus is caused by disorders of the inner ear or auditory nerve it is called otic (from the Greek word for ear).[23] These otological or neurological conditions include those triggered by infections, drugs, or trauma.[24] A frequent cause is traumatic noise exposure that damages hair cells in the inner ear.
Inflammation of the middle and outer ear, otitis media and otitis externa respectively, are often due to infections or trauma. Infectious causes tend to present with additional symptoms like an ear discharge, which is usually purulent and often presenting with an offensive odor. When affected, the outer ear becomes red and swollen. Allergic causes, especially in cases of ear piercings and earrings made of certain metals, need to be excluded.
Conductive hearing loss (CHL) occurs when there is a problem transferring sound waves anywhere along the pathway through the outer ear, tympanic membrane (eardrum), or middle ear (ossicles). If a conductive hearing loss occurs in conjunction with a sensorineural hearing loss, it is referred to as a mixed hearing loss. Depending upon the severity and nature of the conductive loss, this type of hearing impairment can often be treated with surgical intervention or pharmaceuticals to partially or, in some cases, fully restore hearing acuity to within normal range. However, cases of permanent or chronic conductive hearing loss may require other treatment modalities such as hearing aid devices to improve detection of sound and speech perception.
Ramirez et al (14) aimed to explore the anatomical and physiological connections in TMD patients with secondary aural symptoms and the central and peripheral mechanisms involved. The authors carried out an extensive peer-reviewed literature search, using data from (12), 436 patients in 49 papers, to analyse aural symptoms (otalgia, tinnitus, vertigo, subjective hearing loss and aural fullness) exacerbated by dysfunctional mouth and jaw dynamics. They proposed a range of muscular, bone communication and neural scenarios to explain this relationship, placing emphasis on tensor tympani muscle involvement and trigeminal nerve dysfunction.
If you are referred to a specialist tinnitus clinic, and your tinnitus is particularly troublesome, you will be introduced to more formal or structured ways of managing tinnitus. Most centres use a combination of approaches. You may come across some terms before, or hear them when you get there, and it helps to have some understanding of what these terms are.
Hearing loss is a partial or total inability to hear.[5] Hearing loss may be present at birth or acquired at any time afterwards.[6][7] Hearing loss may occur in one or both ears.[2] In children, hearing problems can affect the ability to learn spoken language, and in adults it can create difficulties with social interaction and at work.[8] Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. Hearing loss related to age usually affects both ears and is due to cochlear hair cell loss.[9] In some people, particularly older people, hearing loss can result in loneliness.[2] Deaf people usually have little to no hearing.[6]
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If your child has not been born with hearing problems, it is most likely that their hearing loss is temporary. However, some children are born deaf. Each year in the UK, around 840 babies are born with permanent hearing loss. Your child will have a hearing test soon after they’re born (the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme ), so any problems with their hearing can be picked up early on.
Rather than a disease, tinnitus is a symptom that may result from various underlying causes.[2] The most common causes are hearing damage, noise-induced hearing loss or age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis.[2] Other causes include ear infections, disease of the heart or blood vessels, Ménière's disease, brain tumors, exposure to certain medications, a previous head injury, earwax, and sometimes, the tinnitus is suddenly perceived during a period of emotional stress.[2][4] It is more common in those with depression.[3]
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