Tinnitus is most commonly thought of as ‘ringing in the ears’ and can be defined as the conscious experience of noise with no apparent external source.
Experiences of tinnitus are very common across all age groups (especially following exposure to loud noise).
Do You Suffer From Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can vary in the way it sounds, its severity, as well as its annoyance. Ringing, chirping, or even clicking sounds may occur a few times a month or many times in one day; for a few moments or hours; or can even be constant.
For some individuals, tinnitus may also have a pulsating or repetitive
pattern. Mild tinnitus is common - about 10 per cent of the population have it all the time and, in up to one per cent of adults, this may affect the quality of their life.
Tinnitus can be a complex issue and no ‘magic wand’ treatment exists. There are however options available to help you understand your tinnitus better and provide relief.
Your GP or hearing healthcare professional may discuss one of the following:
- Lifestyle Changes - tinnitus triggered or aggravated by stress, could be managed by seeking further support to deal with the cause of the stress. Changes in diet and exercise routines may be recommended.
- Hearing Aids those with hearing impairment may find that wearing a hearing aid can help mask their tinnitus via additional amplification, particularly to the higher tones or frequencies.
- Counselling - techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be helpful. CBT can help you manage the effect that tinnitus has on your life by offering strategies to help you deal with anxiety and distress. Such as showing you how to make notes when tinnitus is creating the greatest disturbance to you and what you were thinking at the time. These thoughts can then be discussed and supported on changing your thought processes for the better. Therapy sessions can be carried out on a one-to-one or group session and could be with a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist or specially trained audiologists.
- Sound Therapy - deliberate use of sound to reduce the perception or awareness of tinnitus or alleviate the distress associated with it can be classed as sound therapy. Sound therapy is one of the easiest things you can do for yourself if you don’t need professional help or are unable to access it. There are a broad range of devices available on the market providing background noise to reduce the perception of tinnitus. These can include:
- White noise generators worn in or on the ear itself
- Sound generator devices producing sounds such as rain or sea surf or even white noise - such as the Tinnitus Relaxation Ball
- Pillow speakers or sound pillows connected to sound generators or an existing sound system - such as the Tinnitus Relief Sound Pillow
Tinnitus is very real, as it is a ‘sound’ that is heard by the person experiencing it, regardless if someone else can hear it. As tinnitus can be a sign of certain medical complications, it shouldn't be dismissed or underestimated.
You should see your GP should you have persistent tinnitus, or if your tinnitus is accompanied with any dizziness and/or balance problems.