It's the time of year when it can be normal to hear bells ringing in the air, but it's usually not a good thing when you hear a ringing in your ear, that’s not really there. Dr. Michael Iliff with Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs says just because that noise isn’t really there, doesn’t mean you’re not having real problem. There is a condition known as Tinnitus can have you hearing things that sound very real, that aren’t really there.
"Tinnitus is a sound that there is no external explanation for why you are hearing that sound. Basically you’re hearing something that is not there. People will have that experience of hearing those sounds, it could sound like crickets, a tea kettle a whistling, anything really when there is no external explanation or source for those sounds. Tinnitus can be related to various types of things going on in your body, it could be due to stress, your diet, medication or an actual decrease in your hearing."
Dr. Iliff also says Tinnitus can be both a temporary problem or an ongoing problem. Either way you should have it checked out by a specialist.
"They should have a full diagnostic hearing evaluation. Usually when we Tinnitus there is nothing we need to be concerned about. We just want to watch it over time, but there are cases when it can be a precursor to other things that we may want to take a look at and monitor."
The C.D.C. estimates that over 50 million Americans experience some form of Tinnitus. Generally it’s not an easy fix, but it can be made better with treatment says Dr. Iliff.
"You can't make it go away completely, but you can manage it. Some individuals become very frustrated with it, it's constantly on their mind, it prevents them from going to sleep at night, or it stresses them out during the day. Those are things we can manage, through sound therapy, or counseling measures to give them some relief."
Remember there is a difference between just having your hearing checked, which will tell you how well you are hearing overall and a full hearing diagnostic from an Audiologist. A full diagnostic will actually measure the exact frequencies you may be having trouble with, as well as any other problems happening in your ears. If you have any questions follow up with a Doctor of Audiology.