What is Tinnitus and How Can it Affect You?

Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people and is especially common in older adults.

 

Causes of tinnitus

It’s not always clear what causes tinnitus, but it’s often linked to:

 

How to check if you have tinnitus

Tinnitus can sound like:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Whooshing
  • Humming
  • Hissing
  • Throbbing
  • Music or singing

You may hear these sounds in one or both ears, or in your head. They may come and go, or you might hear them all the time.

 

Things you can try to help cope with tinnitus

Do:

 

Don’t

  • Do not have total silence – listening to soft music or sounds (called sound therapy) may distract you from the tinnitus
  • Do not focus on it, as this can make it worse – hobbies and activities may take your mind off it

 

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) has more information about sound therapy, and runs support groups and a free helpline on 0800 018 0527.

RNID also has a free helpline on 0808 808 0123.

 

Treatments for tinnitus

If the cause of your tinnitus is unknown or cannot be treated, your GP or specialist may refer you for a type of talking therapy.

This could be:

  • Tinnitus counselling – to help you learn about your tinnitus and find ways of coping with it
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – to change the way you think about your tinnitus and reduce anxiety
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy – using sound therapy to retrain your brain to tune out and be less aware of the tinnitus

If tinnitus is causing you hearing loss, hearing aids may be recommended.

 

f you’re having problems with your ears, nose or throat, a private ENT specialist consultant can assess and diagnose your condition, as well as advising you on the best possible treatments and diagnostics. At Pall Mall, we offer private ENT appointments and services. Click here for more information or call us on 0161 3940310.

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