What is tinnitus and how can you reduce the impact?
Tinnitus is often described as "ringing in the ears", but people will experience different types of sounds including; buzzing, hissing, chirping or something like wind, or gurgling water. Some people will also experience different sounds at different times and even different sounds in each ear. If you are suffering from tinnitus, you are truly experiencing those sounds, but they are internally generated and not due to any external sound source. The severity of the sounds will vary widely across sufferers. People often are a bit scared when they first experience tinnitus and fear it has a serious underlying medical condition. Usually there is no serious underlying medical condition. However, we always recommend you check with your physician, or GP and take their advice on having your situation checked by a hearing & tinnitus specialist such as an Audiologist, or an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus usually indicates a problem in the auditory system which could have been caused by many different things:
- Most common is damage to the inner ear through natural ageing and / or exposure to loud noise, particularly if it is prolonged exposure. This is why a significant percentage of people who serve in the armed services or who have worked in a noisy industry environment end up with tinnitus.
- It may develop following surgery, or following neck, or head injuries including whiplash.
- For some people their tinnitus is linked to stress, or raised blood pressure.
- It can be a side effect from a drug or damage to the ears from scuba diving.
- It can be linked to dental or jaw related issues.
- It can be something as simple as an excessive build-up of wax in the ear.
How common is it, and is there anything that can be done to help?
International surveys have consistently reported that between 5% and 20% of people worldwide suffer from tinnitus. It is more common in men than women, and the rates increase as we get older.
At this stage there is no "miracle cure" for tinnitus, and we are certainly not claiming we can help everyone, nor saying we can cure tinnitus. However, our 15 plus years of clinical experience has shown that the methods available from this website can help improve the quality of life significantly for 80% or more of people who suffer from frequent tinnitus.
The goals of therapy are to improve your ability to:
- concentrate - thus improving your capacity and capability to work effectively.
- sleep better - leading to an overall improvement in your physical and mental well-being.
- to enjoy sounds, rather than tinnitus.
- to reach a stage where you are largely unaware of your tinnitus (peace and quiet).
- to understand what factors may make your tinnitus worse, for example stress and to provide you tools and ways to take control and manage your quality of life.
Should I see a doctor or specialist clinician?
It is useful to use the Tinnitus Tunes website to increase your basic understanding of what tinnitus is and what are the most common causes of tinnitus. We also believe you can obtain significant benefit from becoming a member, or helping a family member or friend become a member.
However, we always strongly recommend you also involve your physician, or GP in any medical matters. It is important to eliminate any risks that tinnitus is linked to an underlying medical condition. Your physician, or GP may recommend you also consult with an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist, or with an audiologist that specialises in the assessment and treatment of tinnitus.