Do you hear buzzing, ringing, pulsing or whistling?
Tinnitus is defined as a perception of noise or ringing in the ears. In other words, there is no external sound source, but rather the sounds are in your head. Tinnitus affects approximately 15% of the population.
There are many triggers that can cause this ringing however it is very common among individuals who work in a noisy environment. It is also closely correlated with hearing loss, although hearing loss and tinnitus don’t always have to go hand in hand.
Other risk factors of tinnitus can include:
- Middle and inner ear disorders
- Wax in the ear(s)
- Head, neck and jaw issues
- Whiplash injuries
- Muscle spasms
- Meniere's disease (This chronic ear disorder affects your balance and hearing)
- Some medications
- Some medical conditions such as otosclerosis or a benign growth on the auditory nerve
- Stress, anxiety, depression
- Ear and sinus infections (allergies)
- Blood pressure issues
Despite all the possible causes of tinnitus, many times there may be no identifiable cause.
Affects of Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be frustrating. Sometimes, the sounds you hear can interfere with hearing real sounds around you. Tinnitus can cause:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of concentration
If medical conditions, apart from hearing loss are ruled out, the next step is recommending ways to manage the impact of tinnitus on your life. Here are some examples:
- Hearing aids
- Sound generators
- Environmental enrichment devices
- Relaxation techniques
- Counselling options
Tired of the ringing?
Protecting your hearing is one of the best ways to avoid tinnitus. Wear hearing protection in a noise work environment, attending a loud show or concert, cutting the grass etc.
Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms. This may include amplification, masking with music, or white noise to name a few.
At Whisper Audiology Hearing Clinic, the audiologist can assess your situation and help you better cope with the condition through various techniques.