Sudden Ear Ringing
Most people know about ear ringing; for generations people have suffered with it. In fact, at some point or another most people experience sudden ear ringing personally. Fortunately for most the sound does not persist over a long period of time.
Ear ringing – tinnitus – is a condition in which the individual hears a constant ringing in one or both ears. This sound may range from a low to a high pitch and may be isolated in one ear or may be heard in both ears.
Sudden ear ringing occurrence may be explained in several ways. Most often, the sudden ear ringing is not permanent and lasts for only a few minutes or at most a day or two. It may be the result of dirt or wax build-up in the ear canal. While is it very dangerous to manually dig out dirt or wax in the ear, it may be possible to deal with the problem without a doctor visit. Over-the-counter ear wash products are available at local pharmacies and drug stores. These can be used to clean the ear canal safely and gently. The sudden ringing may also be the result of a severe ear infection. In this case it is best to see the doctor.
Sudden ear ringing may also be a side effect from prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Most unfortunately, there are times when the medication side effect results in permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss. In other cases a reduced dosage of the medication results in total elimination or some reduction of the ear ringing. Here are some medications that have been associated with the ear ringing: salicylate analgesics (which are higher doses of aspirin), naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Aleve), ibuprofen, many other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, aminoglycoside antibiotics, anti-depressants, loop-inhibiting diuretics, quinine/anti-malarials, oral contraceptives, and chemotherapy. Ear ringing that is related to ear infection may be associated with the use of ototoxic antibiotics.
Sometimes sudden ear ringing is brought on by an event. Some car crash victims with traumatic head injury have reported a sudden onset of tinnitus. Others have experienced sudden onset tinnitus following dental procedures. A difficult tooth extraction or even ultrasonic cleaning may cause hearing damage as the bone conduction of loud sounds goes directly to the ear. Ear plugs do not help in these cases as the sound conduction is completely internal. Earplugs do help when the noise source is external; they can help protect your hearing when you are having medical tests with MRI’s, CAT’s and other non-invasive scanning machines. These are very loud machines and ear protection is recommended even if you are outside of the machine while it is running. Be sure to ask for ear plugs when you have tests like these; most competent imaging facility have them available.
If you do have sudden onset of ear ringing, consider first the simplest explanation. Recent exposure to a loud noise is very common. Many concert goers complain of ear ringing up to an entire day following an event. In these cases most likely the inner ear is slightly damaged and the ear ringing will not be permanent.Ear Ringing Cures