Ringing In The Ears And Loudness
If you’ve ever experienced ringing in the ears, you know that it can vary based on the day, time, and environment. Ringing in the ears can also change after a loud noise or loud music. But what happens in your ears when you hear a loud noise? And most importantly, is it permanent?
Basically, if you experience ringing in your ears from a loud noise such as fireworks, gunshots, or a rock concert, this is due to the hair cells in your inner ear. These hair cells send auditory information to your brain. Loud sounds damage the tips of the hair cells which continue to mistakingly fire. This causes you to experience the ringing noises in your ears.
What typically occurs, however, is that the body has a magical way of healing itself. Those hair cell tips grow back over 1-2 days. That is why the ringing in your ears after a loud noise is typically temporary. It goes away after several hours or sometimes several days.
But repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause extended damage to the hair cells. With permanent hair cell damage, comes hearing loss and ear ringing that does not go away. So what can you do to protect yourself from ringing in the ears from loud music or loud noises?
Here are some quick tips to preserve your hearing and reduce ringing in the ears.
- Monitor your noise exposure. This includes paying attention to loud sounds in your daily life. Not only how loud the sounds are but how long you are exposed to these sounds. Limit your exposure to loud noises such as construction equipment, overly loud music, night clubs, and even fireworks.
- Protect yourself when you are exposed to loud noises by using ear plugs or noise reducing headphones. Stay as far away as possible from the source of the noise such as keeping clear of the speakers at a rock concert.
- Give your ears a break. If you exposing your ears to loud noises then make sure to take breaks so that your ears are not constantly battling the noises. Remember that the longer the exposure, the more significant the effect on those hair cells in your ears.
- Limit use of personal music devices with in-ear headphones or buds. If possible, use noise-canceling or noise-reducing headphones as these create a quieter background which allows you to hear the music better without turning up the volume too loud. If you can, reduce the volume to the lowest possible but so that you can still enjoy the music. Take breaks at least once per hour for 5-15 minutes if listening to loud music for an extended time period.
If you already have ringing in the ears, do you know what causes your tinnitus to get louder?
Some patients report that there are certain causes of their ear ringing getting louder. It is critical for those who already experience ringing in the ears to avoid these causes so as not to aggravate your ringing symptoms. According to research as well as anecdotal reports from those with tinnitus, here are the top causes of increased loudness of your ear ringing.
- Surgery. This can be surgery anywhere on or in the body, not limited to surgery in the regions surrounding the ears. Sometimes our bodies have a reaction to surgery, anesthesia, or medications given during or after surgery. Anecdotal reports from patients indicate increased loudness in ringing following a surgery is possible.
- Medication. Introducing a new medication can affect the body and lead to increases in loudness of ear ringing. Sometimes, interactions between medications can change how you perceive your ringing in the ears.
- Exposure to loud noises. Those who already experience ringing in their ears can be impacted by continued exposure to loud sounds including music, equipment, gun shots, fireworks, even the sound of an ambulance.
- Emotional/psychological difficulties. Changes in your emotional wellbeing can affect how you perceive the ringing sounds in your ears. Sometimes, there are changes in loudness, pitch, or even the type of sound you may hear (buzzing, chirping, whirring, hissing) if you experience a psychological traumatic event or even with daily changes in emotional state.
- Progressive condition or disorder. Certain disorders that progress or worsen over time can have an impact on your ear ringing and change the way your ringing is perceived. For example, meniere’s disease, autoimmune inner ear disorders, or cancers.
However, it is important to note that many of those who suffer with ringing in the ears, do experience natural fluctuations of loudness or intensity of ringing symptoms. Sometimes, there are specific causes that lead to these natural fluctuations – changes in medicine, stress, lack of sleep – but there is not always a clear cut cause. Patients may experience an increase or decrease in loudness of their ear ringing that has no apparent cause.
Even though it is frustrating trying to figure out what causes loud ringing in the ears, regardless of loudness, continue to try various treatments for ear ringing. If it reaches an unbearable level or you begin to experience emotional stress related to the ringing symptoms, I always recommend seeing a healthcare professional.
If you need some ideas for relaxation techniques, try these. Or, if you’ve been thinking of giving medication a try, look here for my review. As always, please leave your comments about your own experiences with increasing loudness of your ringing, loud ear ringing after noise exposure, or what treatments for ringing in the ears have worked for you.