Tinnitus is the medical term for noise or ringing in the ears.

          Tinnitus causes its sufferers to hear sound when there is no sound. Tinnitus symptoms may include these types of phantom noises in your ears:

  • Ringing
  • Humming
  • Clicking
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Hissing

          The noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go without an obvious pattern.  

          A common cause of tinnitus is damage to an individual’s inner ear hair.  There are tiny and delicate hairs in an inner ear that should move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This should trigger cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from a person’s ear (auditory nerve) to their brain. The brain should interpret these signals as sound.  When the hairs inside a person’s inner ear are bent or broken, they can misfire and provide random electrical impulses to a person’s brain, causing tinnitus.

          Tinnitus is a common type of damage that has been caused by the defective 3M earplugs that 3M provided to the United States military.  Just because it is the most common, doesn’t mean that other types of ear damage have not been caused by the defective 3M earplugs.  Any former or current servicemember experiencing any type of hearing loss should consult with an attorney handling these cases immediately.