Tag Archives: Ear

Tinnitus (Ringing Ears)

Have you ever heard a ringing noise in your ears, more than often it’s high pitched? The kind that irritates you but you simply cannot do anything to make it stop? This article will helpfully give you a better understanding of what exactly that is…

Tinnitus is the name given to this ringing noise.  It affects around 1 in 5 people and is a symptom of an underlying condition, for example an ear injury or age-related hearing loss. There are 2 classifications of tinnitus: objective and subjective:

Subjective tinnitus – the most common type of tinnitus; only you yourself can hear the tinnitus. It can be caused by problems in the ear or by problems with the auditory nerves in the part of your brain that interpret nerve signlas as sound.

Objective tinnitus – the more rare type in which an external person (ie your doctor) can hear the tinnitus when carrying out an examination. This could be caused by a blood vessel problem, muscle contractions or an inner bone condition.

Inside the ear are thousnds of tiny hairs, stereocilia. These vibrate in response to sound waves. There are then cells, which convert neural signals into tension on the vibrating basement membrane. A neural feedback loop (regulated by the brain) exists to connect the sensing cells with the vibratory cells. Your ears are very delicate; therefore things such as going to concerts and listening to loud music can destroy/damage the hair cells. Studies have shown that when hair cells are lost, different neurons are activated resulting in the activation of auditory parts of the brain and causing sound to be heard (such as the high pitched ringing).

When you are played a tone at an extremely high frequency, you may not be able to hear it whereas someone else is capable. When you are younger, you are one of the more capable people. As we age, more of our cells become damaged due to things such as loud noises and our capability to hear these loud noises decreases.

So, if you have ever wondered why you can hear that loud irritating noise after going to some mental concert, you now know why… Just be careful – destroying a few of your cells will not cause devastating damage. However, no one wants to become deaf due to self-infliction.

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Filed under Independent Learning, Symptoms

Spinny Chairs

They provide you with quick thrills, however, should we give any thought to the dizziness that follows the entertainment?

In my school, there’s a workroom. The workroom has a lot of computers, accompanied by many, many spinny chairs.

I was presented with two options when in the workroom with a couple of people: get a head start on the stacks of work I had, or, play a game with my friend Vicky involving spinning each other in circles (for pure entertainment value due to the dizziness that would ensue.)

The title of this post is a clue as to what option I went with. Vicky spun me until waves of nausea washed over me, and I did the same to her.

After we physically couldn’t play the game anymore, I realised something. Neither one of us had any idea why spinning made a person dizzy. So, the logical conclusion was to google the reason in an attempt to further avoid doing my work. If this question has ever plagued your mind, continue reading.

It turns out, a system in your inner ear is the key to dizziness. There is a small structure in your inner ear that helps you to maintain balance.  Deep inside of your ear are liquid filled cavities. Inside of these cavities, are sensitive little hairs attached to nerve cells. Dizziness is due to the hair-like sensory nerve cells in our ears sending the wrong messages to our brains. When we spin around, there is a short time lag before the fluid spins too. This makes you feel like you are spinning. When you stop, the fluid continues spinning for a while, which may make you feel like you are spinning backwards: meaning you are feeling dizzy.

The feeling of dizziness and nausea is also considered to be a hazard sign, warning your body to stop spinning.

I should have listened to my body seeing as, two hours later, I still feel really quite ill..

So, I found something out today and, even though my work is incomplete, I feel satisfied by the knowledge I acquired through my procrastination.

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Filed under General Knowledge