About The Tinnitus Issue

Subject: About The Tinnitus Issue
From: Scott Stallings (viaeanguli@yahoo.com)
Date: Sat Jun 25 2005 - 18:25:24 EDT

Sorry, List Friends, but as a practicing audiologist I just can't let this topic go by without a response.
It was written: "Tinnitus is partly due to damaged hairs inside the ear oscillating and thereby simulating the perception of noise. If those hairs are embedded in wax and not knocked around by cotton buds then they cannot oscillate. The wax also forms a protective layer against protective noise."
As several responses have correctly noted, the hairs that become embedded in cerumen (wax) are those of the outer ear canal and have no relationship whatsoever with the hair cells of the Organ of Corti that have everything to do with the transducing of mechanical acoustic energy into neurological responses that ascent via the eighth auditory cranial nerve through the brainstem and upward to the cerebral cortex. Organ of Corti hair cells have no contact with ear wax or "cotton buds" whatever those may be. Ear wax in no shape or form is capable of forming a protective layer against loud intensity sound and neither can "cotton buds." The only protection that may be provided is lowering the amplitude of the sound pressure impinging upon the ear drum -- and that's called turning down the volume control of the boom box, inserting ear plugs, or removing yourself from the source of the sound.

Relative to the statement, "this will help some of you out there ditch your audiologist and maintain your noise addiction." My only comment is that I would be professionally pleased to be "ditched." That's why I am an audiologist. I have most successfully performed my profession when I have helped others protect themselves from needlessly destroying their auditory status with self-imposed tinnitus and/or hearing deficits. Furthermore, by all means let's each maintain our noise addiction. I'm a sound addict, too, and right straight out of early '60s when much of society's fascination with loud intensity began. Let's just do it safely in a manner that reduces very little of the joy that the phenomenon of sound provides.

Hopefully I've not misunderstood the intent of the initial message prompting this response - I've been know to do that and if I have then I include my apology with this response.

My best to your healthy hearing,




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