We put this question to Karen Steel:
Well, tinnitus is a ringing or noises that you can perceive. Sometimes it sounds like itís really like coming from outside. Sometimes it sounds as if itís coming from inside your head. Itís a sign that either the sensory hair cells or something in your neurons is activating at abnormal times when there isnít a sensory input. That can happen because thereís something going wrong with the neuron or something going wrong with the hair cell and that can be an early sign of damage. And so, if you come away from a loud concert and you found your ears are ringing, youíve got the first signs of damage and you really shouldnít do it. So, why itís brought on by low levels of background noise? I don't think anybody really has an answer to that and every personís tinnitus is very different, so thereís no general answer to that.