People with normal hearing and no tinnitus may experience phantom tinnitus, a perceived tinnitus due to their concentrating and focusing on their hearing.
A Brazilian study among 66 participants with normal hearing and no tinnitus found that as many as 68 percent of the participants experienced ringing sounds similar to tinnitus in their ears, when they were asked to concentrate on their hearing ability in a quiet situation. These perceived sounds are known as phantom tinnitus.
In contrast, phantom tinnitus was experienced by 45.5 percent of the subjects when they were asked to focus on their sight, while only 19.7 percent reported a phantom tinnitus experience when they were asked to focus on a task in quiet conditions.
An individual condition
Tinnitus is a hearing disorder affecting many people around the world. In the European Union countries alone 40-50 million people suffer from tinnitus and up to 12 million suffer from tinnitus so severe that it renders them unable to carry on a normal life.
The way tinnitus sufferers are affected by this condition depends on each individual. According to the researchers, the study showed that the degree of severity for a tinnitus sufferer is greatly affected by the extent the patient focuses on the symptoms and the silence.
Source: American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Published on hear-it on September 10, 2008.
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