The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Tinnitus

Medical research conducted over previous years has indicated that those who have tinnitus also experience hearing loss. About 15% of adults experience the phenomenon, which causes a ringing sensation in the ears. The sound may either come from a distance or inside your head and occur in one ear or both. Also, the sound may either be pulsating or steady, but the fact is that you can hear it. 

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

About 90% of those who live with tinnitus also have hearing loss, even though many people may not even realize they are experiencing both conditions. Tinnitus usually follows the same pattern as a person’s hearing loss. That means that if you are having difficulties hearing sounds with high frequencies, your tinnitus experience will often be characterized by high-pitched ringing noise or hissing. Also, when you experience hearing loss in only one ear, you will most likely experience tinnitus in that ear. 

According to some past medical research, absent or reduced nerve activity is the cause of tinnitus. This occurs in the nerves that connect the central nervous system in the brain to the damaged part of the inner ear. The signals moving to the hearing region of the brain cause an increase in nerve activity. Tinnitus then occurs when the ears fail to pick up any sound from their surroundings, even though a sound is heard. Moreover, most people with tinnitus usually end up becoming very sensitive to loud noise. 

Overcompensating for Loss of Noise 

Why will a loss of sound perception lead to a person hearing phantom sound? It is vital to look at the pathway on which sound travels to answer this. When a sound wave enters the ear, it makes its way through the inner ear to a fluid-filled location that contains many hair cells. This area is known as the cochlea. The sound waves cause a vibration in this fluid-filled area, which the hair cells turn into electrical signals sent to the brain through the auditory nerve. 

Any damage to the hair cells can cause hearing loss. And, unfortunately, damaged hair cells cannot be restored. When the brain receives less information from the cochlea, the auditory system tries to compensate for the loss by becoming more sensitive. This way, the auditory system’s raising the gain may account for people with tinnitus becoming sensitive to loud noise. 

Tinnitus and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Most people have experienced one form of temporary tinnitus or another, with one or both ears ringing, especially after exposure to sudden loud noise. Some studies showed that many amateur rock band musicians experience temporary hearing loss and tinnitus in both ears immediately after loud shows or even band practice. As mentioned earlier, exposure to loud noises can cause permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner part of the ear.

And noise-induced hearing noise can occur when the nerves that carry the signals to the brain also take a hit because of the damage to the hair cells. It is important to note that although tinnitus is most common in people 60 years and above, it can happen at any age when a person is exposed to the risk factors. 

What Is the Connection? Does Tinnitus Cause Hearing Loss?

So, what is the connection between tinnitus and hearing loss? Hearing loss is not caused by tinnitus. However, both hearing loss and tinnitus tend to occur together, as they can both be caused by exposure to loud noise. Many people with tinnitus also experience hearing loss, even if temporarily. But often, many people are not even aware that they may also have mild hearing loss. Tinnitus can also be a sign of hearing loss. That means that if you have tinnitus, you may also experience hearing loss, even without realizing it. 

Protecting Your Ear and Preventing Tinnitus

Even if you’re not experiencing hearing loss, exposing yourself to noise can cause tinnitus. Although more research is required on how this happens, one theory suggests synapse damage. Nerve cells communicate with each other through synapses. And loud noises can damage synapses between the auditory nerve fibers and inner hair cells without damaging the hair cells. Another theory suggests that noise can trigger tinnitus differently in people who don’t have other hearing issues. But the most important thing here is to take the proper steps to protect your ears from any kind of noise pollution. 

To learn more about Natural Hearing Centers, please call us today at (888) 221-9156.