Tinnitus could be the brain’s way of coping with nerve damage

Photo credit: Buro Millennial

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report from Science Alert discusses research that auditory damage is linked to tinnitus. Reporter Jess Cockerill writes that tinnitus could be the brain’s way of coping with nerve damage by keeping auditory processing circuits busy to compensate for a loss or absence of hearing.

I’m interested in the prevention of auditory disorders, not in deeply understanding them and certainly not in treating them. For this reason, I hadn’t thought about why people might develop tinnitus, even though I have it. But I know one thing for sure: Many, if not most cases of tinnitus and hearing loss, can be prevented by avoiding loud noise exposure.

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid noise exposure, like at a sports event or rock concert. In these cases, use hearing protection to protect your ears because reducing noise exposure will help your ears last you a lifetime.

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