AUG 16, 2018 7:51 AM PDT

Why won't my ears stop ringing?

An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus in some form. Two million of those people suffer from ringing in their ears so severely that they cannot lead normal lives because of it. But what causes tinnitus to begin with? Auditory damage is the usual cause for tinnitus, whether it comes from too many rock concerts or too much time spent listening to fireworks. But you can also develop ringing in your ears from head trauma, earwax build-up, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, and even some medications.

One theory is that the hair cells that receive the vibrations that allow you to hear are “broken,” in the sense that they are constantly “turned on” so that your ears think they are always hearing sound even when they’re not. Another theory is that the brain’s noise-filtering system, which keeps you from hearing your synapses fire at every moment, isn’t working. So in other words, that ringing could be the inner soundtrack to all the ongoing of your brain. Want to learn more hypotheses to what’s got that constant noise going in your ears and how you can get rid of it? Watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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