Sufferers of tinnitus can hear noise within their ear or head that is not coming from an outside source. It can be quite common amongst sufferers of colds, but can also be caused by exposure to loud music. Up to 10% of the population suffer from tinnitus and it can range from nothing more than an annoyance to a much more serious condition that can cause problems when sleeping or concentrating. Old age is the most common cause of tinnitus, but it can occur in any age group, and can be self-inflicted by over-indulgence in thrash metal. The most common cause is damage to the hearing nerves that causes a random series of signals to be received by the brain, and interpreted as sound. It can also be caused by ear wax, anaemia, and in rare cases by more serious medical conditions such as tumours. There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are various coping mechanisms that you can discuss with your GP.
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