by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This NPR report on tinnitus contains lots of good information and I recommend it highly. I served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018, and I know the expertise of its staff and board members and their dedication to helping those with tinnitus.
The only thing NPR doesn’t mention is how to prevent tinnitus.
There are multiple causes of tinnitus, from head trauma to infections to ototoxic drugs, but I think the most important cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise.
Even a one-time exposure can cause lifelong tinnitus, as it did for me.
So I would add the following to the NPR piece: If you don’t want to get tinnitus, take care of your ears. Avoid exposure to loud noise. Even temporary tinnitus indicates auditory damage, and may lead to permanent tinnitus with repeated noise exposure.
And one more thing: If you have tinnitus symptoms after a rock concert and your friend doesn’t, your ears may be more sensitive to auditory damage than your friend’s ears. Don’t be embarrassed to say, “I don’t want to go to the next concert. It’s hurting my ears.”
Your ears will thank you.