Barg: Letís start at the
beginning and tell us what weíre
talking about when we say tinnitus.
easiest way to put it is tinnitus is
ringing in your ears. Itís a sound
that you hear that is not heard
externally by others. So this is a
function of the auditory pathways of
the brain. This is where you know
tinnitus resides. People are hearing
a sound. It can be a
screeching, buzzing or there can be
many different forms of it. They are
hearing something that someone on
the outside is not hearing.
Barg: What are
the general causes and what can we
do when we know our loved one is
dealing with tinnitus?
of the ways people get it is through
exposure to loud noises. People do
not protect their hearing enough.
There are little hair cells inside
of the ear that are getting a signal
from the brain and those are damaged
with people who attend a lot of loud
concerts, construction workers, and
especially veterans. But
people can also get it from a head
or neck injury and also traumatic
brain injury. There are also drugs
that are ototoxic to the ears and
have been shown to cause tinnitus.
Barg: Tell me
about the work of the ATA.
primary goal of the ATA is to find a
cure for tinnitus through scientific
research and to support the patient
until we can get to such a point
where there is a cure. We have
plenty of resources, information and
connections that can help caregivers
get treatments or other help for the
Is there an aging implication to
It tends to happen as you get older.
Some people are genetically inclined
to eventually arrive at that point.
And possibly they bring it on sooner
by abusing their ears with loud
Weíve heard from
children who have gotten it because
the noise in our cities has
increased over the last few decades.
So, whereas we were seeing this
traditionally as an older personís
problem, we are now seeing it move
to a younger age range.
What is the first step we should
take if we or our loved ones hear a
consistent ringing in the ears?