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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Tinnitus, the “Tin Ear”

At Incoming BYTES,  I’m happy to  keep my ear to the ground for news that offers hope.    I hear there may be some good news in the near future for anyone that suffers from tinnitus. If you have tinnitus,  you probably know what it is.  It is maddening.
A  common affliction, tinnitus  is a  highly  annoying  noise or multiple noises  heard or generated in one or both ears. Tinnitus is most commonly  described by sufferers as a persistent  high pitched whistle, hiss or  hum, but it may alternatively also be described as a ringing of the ears,  likened to  the sound of ventilation/air conditioning systems, an engine running,  a rumble, roar, or other comparable description of chronic and inescapable  noise.
Hearing loss is  most common in the elderly and often includes tinnitus, but tinnitus can be suffered by individuals of any age if the hearing process is compromised by any number of causes.  It is  generally thought  that  loss of plasticity of the eardrum and associated inner ear structures may be  a contributing factor. Hearing loss is also  known  to be additive and progressively becomes worse if hearing is not protected from extreme noise.
  The generated noise, or noises caused by tinnitus,    if loud enough, may completely interfere with,  or mask other external sounds,  acting as “white noise’,  reducing the level and acuity of any residual hearing the subject may otherwise enjoy.    The distraction and  masking effect is significant and destructive particularly if hearing is already  reduced substantially by other causes such as disease, or if pre-existing  physical conditions caused by  illness, accident, or other causes are a factor. Total deafness can result.

Tinnitus is commonly  experienced by people that may have been subject to one or more of the following conditions:
•    exposure to excessively loud music , such as using headphones  set too loudly,or extreme rock concert music
•    constant use of the telephone, for example,  headset technology used with cell phones
•    long-term high-decibel noise in working environments that involve machinery, loud impact noises generated by jack-hammers,  firearms, explosives and jet engines;
•    nerve or neural damage caused by head or neck trauma, such as whiplash or impact to the head;
•    physical damage to the eardrum or inner ear structure by direct impact or penetration and resulting perforation of the ear drum or scar tissue; 
•    physical changes to the hearing caused by illness which may include interference with nerve pathways, tumors, or benign growths;
•    environmental  damage to the nervous system from exposure to chemicals;
•    High blood pressure
•    Use of prescription drugs may be a contributing factor;
•    Physical exhaustion. Although considered to be permanent, tinnitus is generally worse when an individual is physically tired;
•    Stress:   Tinnitus is exacerbated by stress;
•    Aging.  Tinnitus is very common in the elderly.

Oh yes...the news...maybe  there REALLY IS some good news?    Within a few months, clinical trials on humans  are to begin at the University of Dallas-Texas, where researchers have discovered that stimulation of the Vagus nerve (VNS) with electricity using non-intrusive methods may reverse, or actually eliminate tinnitus. Perhaps even a cure for tinnitus. 

I’m glad to hear that.
That may be the best news we have heard at Incoming BYTES yet.




  1. although i've been very careful with headphones and have tried to minimize external impact, i have had bouts of tinnitus due to trauma to my eustachian tubes in childhood. for 3 years i heard a creek running every time i bent over or laid down.
    then recently lost hearing and suffered a maddening set of white noise, like an air conditioner between me and the audible world.
    chewing exercise and rosemary and mint tea were my stimulation response to the problem. it worked..

  2. Nadine, thank you for sharing your experience with tinnitus. It is a good example of what happens. Fortunately you were lucky enough to able to eliminate the problem. Many sufferers endure that kind of noise for the rest of their lives. Thanks again for your comment!


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