Tinnitus: What You Need To Know
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus generally refers to a ringing, buzzing, whistling or hissing sound in one or both ears that is heard even though there is no external sound present. It can be continuous, come and go or have a pulse/beat like quality. Tinnitus is usually the brain’s reaction to an absence of sound. It is often associated with hearing loss or other disorders affecting the auditory system, or when suffering stress or fatigue.
How common is tinnitus?
You are not alone. Tinnitus is extremely common. Most people will experience tinnitus when in a very quiet environment. In most instances the tinnitus disappears quickly.
Persistent tinnitus is more common among people with hearing loss with at least 50% of people who experience constant tinnitus having a hearing loss.
How do you treat tinnitus?
The first step is a diagnostic hearing assessment, including a thorough case history. Sometimes further medical assessments are recommended if an abnormality in the auditory system is suspected as the cause of the tinnitus. Treatment usually involves education about self-management strategies, the use of relaxation strategies, sound enrichment such as the use of sound via apps, or the use of hearing aids. Use of hearing aids can include special programs with masking noises. Cognitive Behavioural therapy can also be used to treat severe cases of tinnitus.