What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing noises in your ears or head which have no external source. The noises can often be described as ringing, hissing or buzzing in the ear. The noise can be in either ear or sound like its coming from your head. The noises, location and volume will vary from person to person and might even change from day to day.Two types of tinnitus are musical tinnitus and pulsatile tinnitus (a beat in time with your heart beat).
If you think you may have tinnitus the first step is be to see your GP, who will check your ears for any possible causes. Once these have been ruled out you may be referred to an ENT or Audiology specialist.
Causes of tinnitus
Some of the common causes of tinnitus are:
- Hearing loss
- Loud sounds
- Ear infections
- Glue Ear
- Ear wax
- Ménière’s disease
Is there a cure for tinnitus?
Tinnitus currently has no cure. However there are a range of treatment methods you can use to improve your quality of life with tinnitus.
There are a number of tinnitus treatment methods available to help with the management of tinnitus, here are just a few:
Correcting any hearing loss
If you have any degree of hearing loss, helping this with hearing aids is often helpful for tinnitus.
This is sometimes called sound enrichment and is the use of low levels of sound to reduce the awareness and distress of tinnitus. Tinnitus can often seem louder in quiet environments, so introducing sound can help focus your attention elsewhere.
Learning relaxation techniques that work for you will help reduce the stress of tinnitus and people have reported reduction in volume due to this.
See more tinnitus treatment techniques.
Talk to someone
It can be really helpful to talk to people in the same situation as yourself, giving and receiving support to others and sharing tips. There are tinnitus support groups setup all over the country, find one near you and come along.
Here are a few of the local groups, click on the following links if you need further information.
Tinnitus help and support
If you would like more information on tinnitus the British Tinnitus Association website is full of useful information and the helpline provides telephone support on 0800 018 0527.