Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

What Is This Ringing In My Ears?

Wednesday, 30 June 2010 10:44 AM

Question: I am losing my hearing, with loud constant ringing in my ears. It never stops or lessens in intensity. I have purchased over-the-ears hearing aids and they do not filter out the noise. What can be done, and does this often lead to total deafness?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Your severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears) associated with hearing loss needs to be investigated for underlying correctible disease without delay. Acoustic neuromas cause this, and are eminently treatable. Acoustic neuromas are nerve lining growths affecting the acoustic nerve as the nerve passes from the brainstem to the ear, and are not uncommonly bilateral. An MRI with attention to the interior auditory canal will readily image this condition.

Of course numerous other causes are possible and I suggest you consult an ENT (otolaryngologist) to also evaluate you for other causes of hearing loss and tinnitus, including noise induced hearing loss as a result of chronic prior noise overexposure.

Parents, remember your children will sustain permanent damage to their delicate ears and hearing apparatus when exposed to repeated high decibel music or noise, the same way the jack-hammer operator suffers his occupational loss when his ears are not protected. So protect your children with ear plugs and protection, especially at loud concerts and while in the car. You are wise to discourage high volume ear-bud use with the personal iPod players so popular now.

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