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Tinnitus and Its Causes Explained

tinnitus explained xray diagram

Tinnitus is a perception of sounds generated by the nervous system of the ear and brain.

Often described as ringing, humming, whistling or buzzing noises, tinnitus can be constant or periodic and vary in loudness. This perception of sound is usually heard only by the individual experiencing tinnitus. There have been some rare cases where the sound has been heard by others.

 

Prevalence

Tinnitus is very common so you are not alone

We have all experienced momentary tinnitus at some point or the other, especially after exposing ourselves to dangerously loud sounds like at a concert. *However, it is quite a common symptom suffered to some extent on a more than occasional basis by 15% of the general world population and in over 70% of people who experience hearing loss.

*Oregon Tinnitus Clinic

Tinnitus is generally associated with stress and although tinnitus is typically related to hearing loss; this is not always the case. Tinnitus can also develop whilst experiencing a distressing life event, emotional crisis or even a life-style change.

 

Tinnitus and the Brain

Tinnitus can be a result of activity in the brain which is perceived as sound. In cases of people who also experience hearing loss, this may be caused by the brain trying to compensate for lack of sound stimulation from the ear.

Fortunately, for many individuals, tinnitus is more of an irritant than an actual problem. For most, the brain is able to suppress and ignore the tinnitus with relatively no effort and the tinnitus remains in unattended to in the background. However, some react negatively to tinnitus and it can impact significantly on overall well-being by affecting thoughts, emotions, sleep, hearing and concentration. This often leaves an individual feeling stressed, distracted, anxious, restless and even depressed.

It is a sound which is neither good nor bad and for many, tinnitus is more of an irritant than a problem. Unfortunately, people with troublesome tinnitus are often told “There is nothing that can be done for your tinnitus – you will have to learn to live with it”. Statements like this are not helpful.

There are many ways in which you can put tinnitus in the background and make it less of a problem.

No matter how severe your tinnitus, it is important to realise that tinnitus is not a disease and that support to help you overcome tinnitus is available.

There is a lot of information out there regarding tinnitus and ways to treat it. However, it is a very individual and personal experience. Everyone reacts and copes differently and we highly recommended seeking advice from a qualified professional.

 

Getting Help

We have been helping people overcome tinnitus and its impact on daily life for over 50 years

Step 1 – Get in touch and arrange your initial assessment so that we can:

– Understand you and your tinnitus
– Uncover the type and level of tinnitus
– Determine the impact on your daily life
– Help you understand your tinnitus

Step 2 – Work with us to tailor a treatment plan designed specifically to help you overcome tinnitus

Step 3 – If you are ready and committed to being an active part of the treatment plan, we help you implement this into your daily life over a period of time.

Essential Facts about Tinnitus and its Treatment

 

Ancient theories & treatments of Tinnitus

Egyptians: Infused oil, frankincense, tree sap, herbs, and soil via a reed stalk inserted in the external ear.

Mesopotamians: Chanted to get rid of whispering or singing in ears.

Early Greco-Romans: 1st suggested treatment of tinnitus based on cause. For example, if related to a cold, ear should be cleaned and the breath held until some humor froths out from it.

Hippocrates and Aristotle: First to mention masking.

Romans: Associated tinnitus with depressive and seizure disorders.

Middle Ages: Poured objects into ear, i.e. a loaf of very hot bread, divided in half, and placed in each ear.

Renaissance: introduced surgery for tinnitus. The thought was that wind was entrapped in the ear.

19th century: Itard “Most tinnitus is associated with hearing loss”. Described objective versus subjective tinnitus.

20th century: Various sources emphasized attention for contextual and emotional aspects that have become an important focus in modern management of tinnitus.

Next page: tinnitus treatments  Book an appointment with an Audiologist

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