Have you ever heard the old wives’ tale that when you hear ringing in the ears it means that someone, somewhere is talking about you? You know… that if it’s ringing in the right ear they are talking good about you. But if it’s ringing in the left ear they are talking bad?
Obviously this old wives’ tale is one that holds no truth in fact. But it does have an ancient background that raises what could be an important health issue to address if you are experiencing the sensation of ringing in the ears.
Where the Belief Began
The belief that ringing ears means someone is talking about you has roots in Pliny’s “Natural History” encyclopedia, written more than 2000 years ago. Pliny, Gains Plinius Secundus, was an ancient Roman author and natural philosopher. Born in Como, Italy to a Roman knight, Pliny was a highly prevalent researcher, writer, and author. In his days, he authored more than 75 books. Throughout the course of his writings, Pliny mentions several old wives’ tales. None of which are true. Ringing ears is one of these.
However, the ethnic group of the Kyrgyz, traditionally Nomads from Siberia that have since traveled to Central Asia’s country of Krygzystan, still follow the belief that if someone’s ears are burning, somebody is talking about you.
Is Ringing in the Ears Normal?
At some point almost everyone experiences the feeling of ringing ears. To some degree it is actually normal. Think back to when you were at a concert, with music blaring, and the ringing sensation that continued inside of your ears for a period of time after.
Unfortunately though, if you experience frequent or constant ringing in the ears, you could be experiencing something more than what’s considered normal.
The Clinical Term for Ringing in the Ears — Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease, and is not by itself threatening to one’s health. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing buzzing, whistling, ringing, or other sounds. They may be of high or low pitch, vary in the type of sound produced, and affect one or both ears.
When one suffers from Tinnitus, the sounds they hear may be intermittent, continuous, or pulsating in time with the heartbeat. Commonly found in adults between ages 20 to 40, only the person experiencing it can hear the noise.
Causes of Tinnitus
Causes of tinnitus include:
- High blood pressure or other cardiovascular disorders.
- Low thyroid levels.
- Blockages in the ear.
- Head trauma.
- Side effects caused by prescription and non-prescription drugs.
- Psychological factors, such as depression or stress.
- Tumors in the brain or in the ear.
Treatment for Ringing in the Ears
Many types of treatments such as alternative medicines, hearing aids, drug therapy, and sound therapy have been suggested for the relief of tinnitus — but it is not always treatable.
Usually Tinnitus will decrease or go away with time and is known to only persist in 25% of cases. If it does persist, consult with a doctor to determine what is causing long-term Tinnitus, and if it can be treated.
It’s not there because someone can’t stop talking about you!