May 15-21, 2011 is the American Tinnitus Association’s “Tinnitus Awareness Week”. Tinnitus Awareness Week is part of a larger awareness campaign in May.
Established in 1927, May has since been known as “Better Hearing and Speech Month” – a time to raise national public awareness, knowledge and understanding of speech, language and hearing disorders. To complement ATA’s year-round advocacy efforts, each year we set aside a week in May to focus specifically on increasing public awareness about tinnitus and most importantly the need for increased funding for tinnitus research. And this year, as we celebrate ATA’s 40th anniversary – we want to bring even more attention to this great opportunity to raise tinnitus awareness. Let’s continue to “Restore Silence: One Decade at a Time” together.
You can take steps to prevent your sense of hearing from excessive noise:
- One common problem in our society is listening to music that is too loud through headphones. A good general rule for listening to music on headphones is: if someone sitting next to you can hear your music, the volume is too loud.
- It is a good idea to wear ear plugs during loud concerts and during activities that produce a high level of noise, such as mowing the lawn.
- Loud power tools and machinery can also produce sounds that are loud enough to cause hearing damage, so if you are working with these tools on the job, wear hearing protection.
- Ambulance and fire sirens make extremely loud sounds that can damage your hearing if you are regularly exposed. You can cover your ears when a vehicle with a siren goes by to protect your ears.
Tinnitus can also be caused by ear problems, such as a blockage of ear wax, damage to the hair cells of the inner ear, Meniere’s Disease, or a middle ear infection. Certain medications, such as some antibiotics, malaria medications, anti-cancer drugs, diuretics, and extremely high doses of aspirin are also known to cause tinnitus or make an existing case worse. High blood pressure, arteriovenous malformation, and atherosclerosis are cardiovascular problems that can result in tinnitus. Very rarely, a benign tumor growing on the cranial nerve responsible for hearing can cause tinnitus in one ear. Other possible causes of tinnitus include problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), head injuries, and neck problems. These conditions can cause other problems, including pain. Tinnitus is also correlated with, and worsened by, high levels of stress and depression. See your doctor for diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.