Are your ears ringing?

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Scientists think they may have found the root cause of ringing in your ears and be a little closer to curing tinnitus.

Tinnitus is usually described as a ringing noise that can manifest in just one or both ears. Some have described the noise as high pitched whining, buzzing, hissing or whistling sounds. The noises can be persistent and happen all the time or periodically and intermittent.

Over 7 million people in the UK suffer from Tinnitus and at present there is no safe or effective way in which to treat the condition.

The studies show that hearing loss happens in conjunction with over-excitable nerves located in areas of the brain that process sound.

Neuroscience believes that the uncontrolled nerve activity causes the noises people associate with Tinnitus.

Scientists believe that by finding the cause of the problem they can find a way to cure people of the incessant ringing.

Various studies are currently being carried out involving the implantation of electrodes directly into the brain of sufferers in a bid to calm the overactive neurons.

It is believed that increased activity in nerves is linked to changes in the genes that regulate activity of the nerve cells.

Lead researchers Professor Don Robertson said: "Identifying genes associated with spontaneous nerve cell activity is crucial."

"It means that it may be possible to use drugs to block this activity and treat conditions such as tinnitus in the future."

It is generally accepted by clinicians that tinnitus can be triggered by exposure to excessive noise over time and is associated with noise induced hearing loss (also called work related deafness). It is also recognised that tinnitus can be triggered by stress including stress following trauma. In some instances it is possible to obtain compensation for the condition of tinnitus.


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