Tinnitus Experienced By 10% Of Americans, Experts Say

A study has just revealed that one out of 10 Americans suffers from tinnitus, a condition that results in ringing in the ears. Medical specialists say that this is most often caused by exposure to high decibel noises, namely music and gunfire. About 36% of people suffer from ongoing tinnitus, the study revealed.

Tinnitus is a condition in the ears that results in persistent buzzing or ringing sounds when there is no actual noise being caused. The noise can vary slightly between sufferers. For those who suffer from ongoing tinnitus, it can detract from mental focus and concentration, and can even leave them sleep deprived.

Doctors leading the study advised that many times the underlying cause of tinnitus can be traced back to occupational hazards, home exposure or lifestyle choices, such as attending loud concerts or frequently visiting the shooting range. Most concerning is noise exposure at home, which doctors say is the most preventable cause of tinnitus.

The study advises that by adding audiological evaluations to a physical exam every few years, doctors can better identify patients with tinnitus, so they can seek an adequate treatment regimen.

More than 76,000 adult men and women took part in the study, which culled data, in part, from the National Health Interview Survey. Using this data, researchers were able to ascertain that approximately 10% of the U.S. population suffers from this hearing disorder. They also found that 27% of sufferers had ongoing symptoms spanning more than 15 years, while 36% suffered from chronic and persistent symptoms. Just 15% suffered from daily symptoms, with the remainder experiencing symptoms less than once per week. Roughly 7% of those included in the study stated that this hearing disorder was a "big problem" in their life. About 42% said it was a "small problem." Nearly half the participants had consulted with their primary care physician or a specialist to resolve symptoms.

Of the treatment options, doctors advise hear aids, masking devices and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Aside from conventional options, experts say that newer smartphone applications have proven to be veritable. These create white noise and other sounds that you listen to with headphones, and have been shown to greatly aid sufferers.

Researchers have published the report in JAMA.

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