ENT Center of Austin - Doctor's Blog

What's That Ringing Sound?

Ahhh, the carefree days of our youth: Experiencing puppy love for the first time, unable to go for more than an hour without a can of cola and those loud concerts. We always tried to get as close to the stage as possible to see some rock star flail around in front of us. The speakers were so loud that anything other than a blow horn could not be heard.


Then one day, some ringing began in the ears. We tried to make it go away, but ultimately complained to our parents. They swung into action, taking us to an ear specialist.

What’s the diagnosis? Not good. Actually pretty bad. Those happy-go-lucky times were suddenly fading away. No more concerts.


Result: Tinnitus

Either you or your offspring doesn't hear it during the day, but come bedtime, it becomes obsessively louder. Or when we're stressed-out; would someone answer that darned phone!

The latest threat we wrote about was coming down with this serious problem because of earbuds. Here's what we said:

"Eggheads at the United Kingdom's University of Leicester have given us another reason to crank it down when it comes to sticking tiny, sound translators into your ears. It's not a new discovery. But it does stack further evidence on those who are listening to their music too loud using earbuds."

"The latest studies say that turning-it-up over 110 decibels has the potential to give you this affliction called tinnitus. You know what that is?"

"According to Wikipedia, it's defined as:"

"Tinnitus can be perceived in one or both ears or in the head. It is usually described as a ringing noise, but in some patients, it takes the form of a high-pitched whining, electric buzzing, hissing, humming, ringing or whistling sound. Or as ticking, clicking, roaring, "crickets" or "tree frogs" or "locusts (cicadas) in your head." Tunes, songs, beeping, sizzling, sounds that slightly resemble human voices or even a pure steady tone like that heard during a hearing test."

No Cure But There Are Ways to Cope with Tinnitus

It's not just ear buds, loud sounds over a prolonged period of time like standing behind a lawnmower can contribute to this condition. Even certain medications -- like in the 200-plus range can cause tinnitus. Good news if it comes from the drugs. Ask for a change in your prescription. Chances are it will go away after the infection gets treated. Ear or sinus infections could also lead to tinnitus, although this is often temporary and goes away after we at the ENT Center of Austin treat the infection. We'll also check you out for any tumors which may be causing that ringing sound.

Best Practice: Nip It Before It Happens


Take a gander at these steps you can do to stop this noisy nuisance from becoming a life-long issue:

  • Headphones and earbuds are major contributors, especially if they're ratcheted-up too high. If you can't hear what's going on around you when you're wearing these gizmos, too loud.
  • Exercise regularly. That will increase blood flow to the ear. Likewise, start taking B12 supplements. Don't want to go the pill route? Eat a sensible amount of things like eggs, milk, dairy products and meat.
  • As an adult, trim back on your booze and nicotine intake. Some think that a cigarette calms their nerves. Bogus. It actually reduces the blood flow to ear's plumbing.
  • Always try to avoid being exposed to loud noises.
  • Can't do that? Then slap on some noise reducing headphones or ear plugs. Forget about stuffing cotton balls or toilet tissue in your ear holes. They're useless. Why? There are really high frequencies in the dog-whistle range that are unfazed by home-made solutionss. The higher the frequency, the more danger to your ears.

Hey, you can still listen to your mp3 player, go to concerts and do other things which generate a shriek of noise. Just make sure you don't huddle up to those 20-foot high speakers or whip-up music delivered by wires to jet engine levels. Keep the days of your youth and adulthood untroubled by something you can most likely prevent.

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    Suite 205
    Austin, Texas 78746
    (512) 328-7722 (phone)
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    Round Rock, TX 78664
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    Cedar Park, Texas 78613
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