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I used to wonder why every time I go to bed I hear crickets with this high frequency ringing. More than ten years ago, I was diagnosed with tinnitus and the strange sound in my ears has been around, louder at certain times, and sometimes inaudible. Over the years I have learned much about this condition, and I would want to share the knowledge. There are several false beliefs about tinnitus. Here are a few of them.
- Tinnitus is caused only by listening to very loud sounds. What do we actually mean by very loud sounds? Some people can tolerate the noise generated by a lawn mower or truck engines, but these sounds are not totally safe. Noises above 85 decibels are potentially damaging. That means they can do damage little by little over long term exposures. You may better opt to avoid streets or highways with heavy, congested traffic. You want to wear ear muffs in factories during work, and you may prefer tuning your stereo or your favorite music at moderate volumes. All these should lessen your susceptibility to acquire tinnitus.
- Hearing strange sound in my ears is a sign of mental illness. Tinnitus is never considered a mental illness. Although, there was a time when I regarded cricket sounds in my ears as a sign of hallucination. However, my ear doctor thought better. Usually, tinnitus is caused by damage in the ears, particularly the inner ear. The inner ear is where delicate nerve endings are located, which can get awry when exposed to loud noise.
- A few minutes of loud noise exposure would not matter. This is a popular misconception. Perhaps for the fortunate ones this is true. You have to know that people have various tolerance levels. Some people, upon hearing a sudden blast of speakers will sustain some ear ringing for a while – a sign that damage has occurred in the ears. Some may need to be continually in contact with loud noise before damage can occur. Nevertheless, it is important that we take necessary precautions and not rely on sheer luck. Anything can happen if you neglect simple things. Stay away from noise as much as possible.
- Tinnitus often gets worse. This can be true for people with poor coping mechanisms, but otherwise a myth. Most individuals become habituated with their conditions. Meaning, they get used to it. After a certain period, they are no longer bothered by it and can go about their daily lives as normally as they used to.
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