Medical Mystery: The Ringing Ear

Throbbing eardrums made a young man miserable. What had disturbed the nerves in his head?

By the time Stephen came to my office complaining of painful spasms and ringing in both ears, he had already been to several physicians about his problem. He had been given an array of diagnoses; most doctors said he had acute outer or middle ear infections and prescribed oral antibiotics or ear drops. These measures had not helped, though. He was 21 years old and had suffered with this pain for nearly a year. Like many people with ear or head sounds—which we lump into one word, tinnitus&...

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