Sudden Ear Ringing
Tinnitus is not a new phenomena — people have been suffering with it for millenia. If you’re not familiar with tinnitus, this is where an individual hears a constant sound in one or both ears that, in most cases, are inaudible to anybody else. The sounds they hear can range in frequency from very low to painfully high and can vary in volume and intensity across the complete spectrum from being barely audible at one extreme and totally destroying the ability for an individual to concentrate at the other.
Most people have probably suffered tinnitus at some point in their lives “hearing” the sounds that have been described above in one form or another. But these people will not consider themselves as suffering from tinnitus because the episodes of hearing these sounds are short lived.
The thing is, it is entirely possible for people to experience a “sudden” onset of ringing in the ears that just comes out of the blue and there are several explanations as to why this can happen.
For most people and for most of the time the ringing is not permanent only lasting for a few minutes or maybe up to a day or two. Some people get a ringing in the ears which is due to a severe ear infection. In other cases the cause of the problem can be put down to things like a build up of wax or dirt in the ear canal — just remember though that ears are delicate and it can be dangerous to dig them out with things such as hairpins or toothpicks. There are far better ways to do that.
One way to do it is to use an over-the-counter ear wash or drops from your local chemist or drug store and use that to clean your ears in a safe and gentle manner.
Something that even some doctors are not aware of is just how many of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can also cause the sudden onset of ear ringing. In these cases the resulting tinnitus can be reduced or alleviated by either reducing the dosage of the drug causing the problem or by changing the medication to one that is more suited to the patient.
The thing is that even some of the most commonly used drugs can be a cause of problems for some people. Things like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Aleve), salicylate analgesics — which are a higher dose of aspirin – and many non-steroidal anti-inflammatorys can also be a problem.
Other drugs that can have this effect are:
- loop inhibiting diuretics
- oral contraceptives
- quinine and other antimalarials
This also means that drugs used to treat inner ear infections such as ototoxic antibiotics can be the thing that causes tinnitus for some people.
A more obvious cause of tinnitus can be as a result of receiving a traumatic head injury. Some car crash victims have reported the sudden onset of tinnitus after receiving just such an injury. In many cases the tinnitus reduces and disappears as healing to the head injury takes place.
For some people, a visit to the dentist can be the cause of sudden onset tinnitus particularly where they’ve had something like a difficult tooth extraction. Surprisingly ultrasound cleaning teeth can also give rise to sudden onset tinnitus particularly where the cleaning takes place on the upper jaw as the bone conducts what is essentially quite a loud sound through to the ear itself.
Obviously there is not a lot you can do to protect yourself from these type of events as in the case of visiting the dentist the sound is produced inside the head so ear plugs would have no effect.
However, where you know you are going to be exposed to loud noises generated externally, the use of ear plugs will drastically reduce or totally eliminate the chances of ear damage occurring. Which is why it’s important that people operating loud machinery or working in other noisy environments use the proper protection.
But it’s not only a visit to the dentist that can produce sudden onset tinnitus, other medical procedures can also have an effect along the same lines. For instance if you are having an MRI scan or a CAT scan than care should be taken as these machines are excessively noisy — particularly the older models. And you don’t need to have your head in the machine in order to be exposed to high volumes of noise. In all cases when having these type of scans the person running the scan is normally obliged to give you ear plugs and you would obviously be advised to use them.
Sudden onset tinnitus — unlike other forms of tinnitus — can normally be explained quite simply so you should always look at the most obvious causes first. If you have been exposed to loud noises recently, then that would be the most likely cause. Loud rock concerts are a known cause of sudden onset tinnitus. In fact you may hear the attendees to such concepts claiming that the concert was so loud they couldn’t hear for days afterwards. Sometimes this is said with an air of pride, almost like it was a rite of passage and that anything less than that meant concert wasn’t as good as it could have been.
The thing is that for 99% of people who experience sudden onset tinnitus will find that thier hearing will only have been damaged very slightly and hopefully to the point where no permanent damage has occurred and so should return normally with a day or two and certainly within a week.