We’ve talked about tinnitus in previous blogs before, but since the topic is brought up so often with my clients, I thought it would be good to discuss the subject of tinnitus again this month.
Tinnitus is a sensation of sound generated inside your head that only you can hear. The sound can take many forms, such as ringing, buzzing, hissing, or roaring. Some people experience it occasionally, while for others tinnitus is with them constantly.
There are many causes and more than 80% of people with tinnitus also experience some degree of hearing loss. Tinnitus can have a major impact on people’s daily lives, inducing stress, anxiety, anger, and sleep loss.
Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease – there are many possible causes. Inside the ear are tiny hair cells that convert the sounds you hear into signals the brain can understand. If some of these hair cells are damaged, the brain receives fewer signals. Research suggests that our brain tries to compensate for the missing signals by producing a new sound in their place. Damage to these cells is the most common cause for tinnitus, and there are many reasons why hair cells may be damaged, including the natural aging process, exposure to loud sounds or sudden impact noises.
Tinnitus can also be caused by a reaction to certain medicines, neck or head injuries, or other untreated medical conditions. You should always consult a physician or hearing professional if you are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus.
Some people can ignore their tinnitus most of the time. For others, however, the symptoms can become so disturbing that a proper night’s sleep is impossible. A negative cycle can begin, causing tinnitus to take centre stage in everyday life. Although tinnitus can have a negative impact, effective treatments can be found, and there are many ways to take control of your tinnitus and reduce its impact on your life. There is no cure for tinnitus, but your hearing care professional can help you manage the symptoms. Education and counseling along with sound therapy can be an effective combination. Sound therapy means listening to sounds to distract you from your tinnitus. Although sound cannot eliminate tinnitus, it can make it seem like the tinnitus is eliminated or reduced. Sound can also help you shift your attention away from the tinnitus and toward something more pleasant. Just as no two people experience the exact same symptoms of tinnitus, treating it needs to be personalized to your own needs.
Many people with tinnitus also experience hearing loss, although many are not aware of this. Treating both tinnitus and hearing loss in combination can have a positive impact on your ability to hear speech with less distraction or frustration. Even just wearing a hearing aid can be an effective treatment of tinnitus because when the sounds around you are amplified, tinnitus tends to be perceived as being more in the background, and therefore less annoying.
Talk to one of our Hearing Health Professionals today for more information or to start treating your tinnitus at one of our many clinics.
*The above information was taken from Oticon | What is tinnitus?