A recent study in Europe found that one in five college students, and a similar number of high school students, have permanent ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The lead author of the study, clinical audiologist Annick Gilles, said that she and her co-authors had expected to see higher rates of tinnitus for college-aged people. However, the rates were nearly the same for high school ages.
Three out of four young adults reported experiencing temporary tinnitus, which typically subsides within a few hours after the excessive noise exposure. But permanent tinnitus is much more serious, since it has been linked to hearing loss. Permanent tinnitus can also create problems with concentration, relaxation, and sleep.
Unfortunately, only 5% (1 in 20) of the students in the study said that they used hearing protection, such as ear plugs. Clearly, young people should be more aware of the potential long-term effects of noise exposure, and should be utilizing hearing protection measures on a much more wide-scale basis.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a constant ringing in the ears, please contact our office for more information and a comprehensive hearing evaluation. And please encourage your loved ones – particularly young people – to use hearing protection whenever they will be exposed to even moderately loud noise.