On a scale of 1 to 10, (10 being the worst), go ahead and rate your tinnitus. If you rated your tinnitus a 5 and up, it is most likely interfering with your happiness, your life, and your well being.
If you suffer from tinnitus enough to seek out medical attention, you are not alone. Tinnitus sufferers are on the rise with tinnitus making daily headlines throughout the world.
Noise induced tinnitus seems to be the one making the most headlines with expressed concern over how music pods and other music devises promoting “loud noise” can be contributing to the growing problem. However, there still seems to be a real lack of awareness out there about the dangers of noised induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
You don’t have to look far to find evidence of that. Just walk into your nearest movie theatre and feel the noise decibels go through your body. The audio levels are so unnecessarily loud that I would qualify the loud noise exposure as noise pollution!
I actually wear ear plugs when I go see movies. Now I realize that most people don’t have a problem with the volume. Well, at least not until they wake up with ringing in the ears that won’t go away.
Even though I am a huge advocate of live music, I’m still dismayed at the concert goers that stand beside the festival speakers. There are no warning signs that indicate “danger, close a proximity to these devices may cause hearing loss or tinnitus”. Maybe there should be a law that obliges festivals, clubs, and venue owners to promote awareness against temporary or permanent hearing loss and tinnitus caused by exposure to loud noise.
There is no cure for tinnitus. And most insurance companies still do not recognize tinnitus as a debilitating condition thus will not cover medical expenses or loss of income caused by chronic suffering. However, tinnitus can be severe enough for a high percentage of people to seek medical attention.
As most tinnitus sufferers will tell you, it is a long road ahead for a patient to find relief from tinnitus symptoms. Finding relief can be an expensive journey with a tinnitus patient spending anywhere from $100/month on anti-depressants to $2500 for tinnitus retraining therapy. In many cases, patients will spend thousands more on anyone or anything that will give them promise of relief.
There has been consistent research both in the medical and scientific fields for a cure. However, I wonder how hard it is for these researchers to compete for research dollars in the face of other epidemics like bird flu, aids, and rising cancer rates. In addition, I wonder how many people must suffer from tinnitus before the pharmaceuticals spend large budgets on research. A search on Google will tell you millions are already suffering from tinnitus, and this is a real medical problem that is global.
But the biggest question remains, why are we not doing more to create awareness about noise induced tinnitus? We are a socially responsible society. We properly label cigarettes, trans-fat products, age-appropriate toys, movies, games and dangerous goods.
It seems to me that the next socially responsible thing to do is invite certain manufacturers and entertainment producers to put warning labels on noise producing products and events that give clear warnings such as “danger – loud noise exposure can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss and tinnitus”.
Exactly how long will the insurance companies, manufacturers, entertainment producers and government officials try to ignore a multi-million person problem? Exactly how long will it be before this collective pool of millions of people get together to affect corporate change and ask for warning labels on loud noise producing products? How long will it be before the insurance companies recognize tinnitus as a medical issue? How long will it be before the message goes out loud and clear.