Different ages and cultures have had different outlooks on tinnitus. Tinnitus is the medical term for ringing in the ears. This is any phantom noise that does not come from outside your head. It also does not come from mechanical activity, such as blood pumping or jaw clicking. You may hear ringing, buzzing, humming, chirping, even music. It may be constant or intermittent. It may be one ear or both.

woman with ringing in her ears

Believe it or not, different groups of people in different ages have vastly different outlooks on tinnitus.

  • The ancient Egyptians, believing in multiple gods, believed tinnitus made you a “holy” person, as the gods may be talking to you personally. 

  • The word “tinnitus” dates back to the Roman military leader and writer Pliny the Elder.

  • The ancient Romans and Greeks recognized tinnitus as a problem for some. They believed you could “chase it away” with sound.

In today’s world, we know tinnitus is extremely common and a problem for some patients. It is not a problem for others who hear it. Why is this? Why is it that some people complain bitterly about the noise, while others say they rarely pay attention to it?

The answer may lie in the different attitudes shown above. Tinnitus is a problem only when it is bothersome to a person. A patient may also worry it signals a dangerous health condition (luckily this is rarely the case). Others may feel they earned the intrusive noise by engaging in noisy jobs or hobbies. They may not feel it is uninvited. People who monitor the noise are more likely to be bothered by it.

If you hear tinnitus, you may fall into either category, depending on the importance you place on it. If you are bothered by the phantom noise, there are treatments available. These are not one-size-fits-all. We will explain further when we see you. Do not wait. We can be reached by calling 585-723-3440 or by emailing us through our secure contact page. Make an appointment today at either our Brighton or Greece locations. As always, we wish to keep you on a clear path to good hearing and ear health.