Photo credit: This photo is in the public domain.
by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
Tinnitus is “ringing in the ears,” or, more technically, the perception of sound when there is no external auditory stimulus. The current theory is that tinnitus is located in the brain, possibly abnormal electrical patterns, although the exact locus and lesion are not known.
This report from Finland describes the use of trans-cranial magnetic stimulation to treat patients with severe tinnitus. Like most similar reports, it is very preliminary.
Tinnitus has many causes, but the most common cause is noise exposure. This may be via a one-time exposure to loud noise or associated with noise-induced hearing loss caused by chronic noise exposure. In either instance, tinnitus can be prevented by avoiding noise exposure.
While it’s exciting that there is a potentially promising treatment for tinnitus in the offing, I must point out that avoiding the need for treatment is always the better option.
So remember: if it sounds too loud, it is too loud. Protect your hearing.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.