An Understanding of Tinnitus

The following has been extracted from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus). Please go to this link for more detailed information.

“Tinnitus (from the Latin word tinnitus meaning "ringing") is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.
Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes that can include: ear infections, foreign objects or wax in the ear, nose allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain and cause wax build-up. Tinnitus can also be caused by natural hearing impairment (as in aging), as a side effect of some medications, and as a side effect of genetic (congenital) hearing loss. However, the most common cause for tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss. As tinnitus is usually a subjective phenomenon, it is difficult to measure using objective tests, such as by comparison with noise of known frequency and intensity, as in an audiometric test. The condition is often rated clinically on a simple scale from "slight" to "catastrophic" according to the practical difficulties it imposes, such as interference with sleep, quiet activities, and normal daily activities.”

The following has been extracted from a variety of sources:

“Studies have shown that the majority of serious tinnitus sufferers do have significant hearing loss (›85%) and that the hearing loss has occurred as a result of exposure to loud sound, either over a period of months or years or in the form of a sudden loud blast (firearms, firecrackers, explosives, etc.). Current estimates are that as many as 50 million Americans have tinnitus symptoms - many are children, teenagers and young adults. This estimate is constantly being revised upwards every year. Approximately 5% of those afflicted are so badly affected by the condition that they seek professional treatment or therapy with varying degrees of success. These treatments frequently cost thousands of dollars and may take years. A total recovery is possible but not common.”

Most experts agree that prevention is the key.