Tinnitus is a physical health condition where you experience ringing in the ears or other noises without any external sound being present. It is a symptom that describes a fault in the hearing system, rather than a disease in itself.
Studies suggest that up to 18 per cent of Australian suffer from tinnitus. For most sufferers, it is a mild and manageable condition, with as little as one per cent of sufferers reporting a dramatic effect on their quality of life.
Sounds Associated with Tinnitus
Here is some of the sounds tinnitus sufferers report to have experienced:
Rushing wind/ Ocean sound
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of situations and conditions, and each sufferer’s symptoms are different. While some might experience constant ringing in their ears, others might experience irregular spells of it. Common causes of tinnitus include:
Exposure to loud noise
Extreme stress or trauma
Degeneration of hair cells in the inner ear
Side effects from prescription and non-prescription medications
Meniere’s disease (swelling of a duct in the ear)
Otosclerosis (overgrowth of bone in the middle ear)
Exposure to loud noise and side effects from medication are two of the major preventable causes of tinnitus. Industrial workers, transport workers, farmers and other workers surrounded by noisy tools or equipment should take necessary steps to protect their hearing at work.
People who listen to loud music often, whether it is through musical performance, through headphones or at clubs and concerts, are also at significant risk. If you’re taking medication, you should always discuss side effects with your doctor to check whether it can cause temporary tinnitus or make existing tinnitus worse.
Without management, tinnitus can be debilitating, causing distress, poor concentration, sleeping problems, and irritability in its early stages. Managing tinnitus involves understanding how it works, adapting to the symptoms and improving your psychological associations with them. The aim of all sufferers is to reach a point where they are used to noise made by their tinnitus so that it doesn’t adversely affect their life. Successful management of tinnitus involves accepting the condition, keeping busy, stopping worrying about it and finding relaxation and stress management strategies that work for you.
Try to think of it like moving from the country to the city. At first, you notice the extra noise, but after some time you get used to it. By maintaining a relaxed and positive attitude towards tinnitus, it can be easier than you think to manage it.
Understanding how our mind reacts to noise is the first step to managing tinnitus. When your mind first takes in sound from the environment, it classifies it as threatening (car horn), neutral (wind blowing trees) or non-threatening (familiar/friendly voice), creating an automatic reaction the next time you hear it. Tinnitus can be classified by the mind as a potentially threatening noise when it first occurs, placing the body in a state of stress. Removing negative focus and emotional meanings with the noise will reduce the effect it has on your life.
Tinnitus Treatment Options
There is no single or best treatment for tinnitus. Treating your tinnitus depends on your lifestyle, personality and the severity of the condition. Surgery and medications are rarely justified or necessary. Some simple treatment options include:
Keep physically and mentally active, including regular exercise and pursuing hobbies and interests. Quit smoking and reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, as they can temporarily worsen the effects of tinnitus. Ask your doctor if there are any medications you are taking that might contribute to tinnitus and if it is possible to reduce or cease any. Do not change your medications without consulting your doctor.
Relaxation and Masking
Surround yourself with pleasant noise to keep your ears busy and mask the tinnitus. This could include playing music, keeping the television on or playing sound tapes (like rain or ocean noises) while you sleep.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
TRT is a therapeutic process aimed at helping you to adjust your reactions and perceptions of tinnitus. It involves retraining your auditory reflexes to block the signal for the noise tinnitus makes. TRT encompasses one-on-one counselling and regular sound therapy with sound generators.
If you would like more information about tinnitus relief and treatment, get in touch with Hearing And Audiology by calling 08 (08) 9388 8003 or enquiring online. We have more than 30 years of experience in audiology and specialise in tinnitus treatment in Perth.
For tens of millions of tinnitus sufferers, daily activity can be a challenge. Finding help can be frustrating. And the confusion surrounding the condition can lead to feelings of anxiety and hopelessness.
Tinnitus is often described as buzzing, ringing, hissing, humming, roaring, or whistling that someone hears in the absence of any external sound. Approximately 17 to 20 per cent of Australians suffer from some degree of tinnitus, varying from mild to severe. The percentage of people who are severely affected is small. It is common for a person’s tinnitus to be affected by stress or tiredness, but this has no harmful significance.
Some of the myths surrounding tinnitus can hinder sufferers’ attempts to get better. Separating fact from fiction is an important step for any tinnitus sufferer.
Five common tinnitus myths, and insight into the real facts behind the myths.
1. Tinnitus only affects people who’ve gone to lots of concerts and listened to loud music. While it is true that prolonged exposure to loud noises (music or other) can be one cause of tinnitus, the reality is that tinnitus has many causes – and many people develop tinnitus for no clear reason. People of any gender, age, race, background or profession can suffer from the condition. At the same time, research shows that common elements exist in all tinnitus sufferers. The key to success with treatment is choosing one that effectively addresses these commonalities.
2. Tinnitus will probably just go away on its own. Many people are afraid or embarrassed to mention the sounds to friends, family or associates – let alone seek help. They hope that the ringing will disappear. While tinnitus caused by a medication or other temporary situation may cease if that element is removed, the reality is that tinnitus does not just “go away” for most people. The sooner a sufferer seeks help from a trained audiologist, the better – and sooner – the chances for significant improvement.
3. Tinnitus is an incurable disease. Tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition that can result from a wide range of causes that include everything from exposure to loud noises and certain medication use to underlying neurological damage. While tinnitus itself is not a disease, untreated, it can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. The good news? Tinnitus is one condition that people often can manage with effective treatment.
4. Tinnitus can be cured by cutting out certain foods or other items from the diet. Over time, different foods and additives have received the blame for tinnitus. Research has proven this to be false. Eating a balanced, healthy diet, and getting plenty of exercises, can play important roles in the management of tinnitus. But they can’t “fix” tinnitus on their own.
5. There is no real help for tinnitus. This is the greatest myth of all. More research has lead to more and better treatments for tinnitus. Hearing And Audiology specialises in tinnitus can help individuals determine whether or not they have tinnitus, and if the tinnitus is mild, moderate or severe. We can advise on the best treatments. Some now-available treatments are customized to each patient’s unique hearing profile, and target the underlying auditory, attentional and emotional processes underlying the tinnitus.
Don’t put up with Tinnitus…call us today – we can help you.
Tinnitus — that ringing and buzzing in your ears that won’t stop — is a common condition among millions of Americans. Its impact on your life can be serious. Anxiety, depression and loss of sleep are common side effects. This may be especially true if tinnitus is accompanied by unknown hearing loss, as is the case in 90% of tinnitus sufferers.
Tinnitus has a variety of causes. Experts suspect that the ringing sound is the brain trying to adapt to a loss of hair cells, the nerve cells inside your ear that translate sound into electrical signals for the brain to interpret. This nerve loss can be caused by long noise exposure, aging, inner ear infection, or a condition called Meniere’s disease.
Every case is unique. But you can take charge.
There are, however, professionally monitored treatment plans and technologies for managing tinnitus and relieving the stress and anxiety it causes in your life. Oticon hearing devices with Tinnitus Sound Support™ can help because they provide amplification and a special sounds program for tinnitus relief. Tinnitus Sound Support™ is a feature that works with BrainHearing™ technology to address your unique condition, your likely hearing challenges, and your personal sound preferences. This individualized, flexible approach gives tinnitus sufferers an option for relief.
Get relief today.
The first step in getting effective relief from tinnitus is to have your hearing evaluated byHearing & Audiology. There is hope — with an understanding of your tinnitus and any related hearing challenges, you can discuss your goals with your hearing care professional and plan a course of treatment.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to live with untreated tinnitus. Learning to manage your tinnitus is the first step to regaining hope and maintaining your health.
It’s your brain that hears, not your ears. The sounds your ears receive are sent to your brain where they are translated into meaning. If you suffer from hearing loss, your brain tries to fill in the gaps of sounds you don’t hear. This can be difficult and exhausting, and it makes it harder for you to participate in what is going on around you.
Oticon hearing aids feature BrainHearing™ technology, designed to support your brain and help it make sense of sound, with less effort. This powerful approach enables you to:
Organise sounds and orient yourself with your surroundings
Hear better in challenging environments
Understand speech, engage in conversations and switch your focus
Listen according to your personal preferences
BrainHearing technology is based on four key features:
Speech Guard E– superb speech recognition
Speech Guard E protects speech clarity and details for you to easily understand what is being said – even in noisy surroundings.
Spatial Sound – locate the sources of sound
Spatial Sound supports your brain’s natural ability to sense where sounds are coming from – even in noisy situations. This helps you know where to focus your attention.
Free Focus – zoom in on what’s most important
Free Focus consists of automatic zoom functions to help you easily focus on the most important sounds. It helps you shift your focus from one conversation to another.
YouMatic – shape the sound to suit you
The way you hear is as unique to you as your DNA. YouMatic is a tool to personalise your hearing instruments to your unique and personal hearing preferences and needs
Contact us today to speak to one of our fully qualified audiologists or to organise an appointment.