Do you hear a ringing or buzzing in your ear? It could be tinnitus! Tinnitus can have several causes, including certain medication and high blood pressure. About 90% of patients with tinnitus also have a hearing loss or some kind of inner ear damage. In most cases, tinnitus is a symptomatic indication of something else, such as hearing loss.
It can however also be idiopathic, with no known cause. Almost all people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives. Usually the brain easily classifies tinnitus as not important. About 20% of people experiences problem tinnitus- this is when your tinnitus interferes with your ability to sleep, have conversations and influence your quality of life.
Tinnitus is treated in 2 ways:
People with bothersome tinnitus often report he most annoyance when it is quiet. As soon as the radio or TV is switched on they tend to be less aware of the tinnitus. Think of your radio’s volume while you are driving. As soon as you park the car, the volume tends to be too loud. You did not change the volume, but the volume of the background noise changed. It’s the same with tinnitus. When you increase the volume of ambient noise, the volume of your tinnitus relative to the ambient noise has changed. You then perceive your tinnitus to be less. It is therefore best to out of silence as much as possible. There are several strategies that can help. If your tinnitus is related to a hearing loss, a hearing aid is very effective in managing your tinnitus.
Tinnitus retraining therapy is a powerful tool we use to treat people with tinnitus- especially those without a hearing loss. We usually have three to four sessions of 30 minutes each. In these sessions the audiologist will give you information on exactly how the auditory system and the brain functions. She will focus on why the tinnitus is present and give you strategies to “train” your brain not to be bothered by the tinnitus anymore.
Knowledge is power, so information is the best thing a tinnitus patient can have to help manage their tinnitus. Remember that tinnitus is not something without a cure. Several strategies can be used to assist you with living your best life. You should not let your tinnitus prevent you from participating in an active lifestyle. Our audiologists are trained in managing tinnitus- speak to one of them about the way forward today.