Do you have Tinnitus symptoms? Ringing in the ears. Sometimes just a common, brief annoyance for people, but other times, part of a recurring problem – tinnitus.
Tinnitus is when a sufferer hears the noise from inside their body, when there is no external sound. The noise may be low, medium or high pitched and usually sounds like a ringing, whistling or humming.
But what causes it?
Tinnitus is most commonly caused by a buildup of earwax. It is also commonly associated with age related hearing loss. Temporary tinnitus can be caused by recent exposure to loud noise, eg. attending a concert and working in a loud industrial place for many years without hearing protection could lead to permanent damage to hearing and tinnitus in later life. Tinnitus can also be due to other medical aspects, eg. changes to the bones in the ear, or an ear infection.
Why is tinnitus such an issue though? If you’ve never had it, you probably think it’s just a bit of an annoying noise, but in reality it can cause a lot of stress to the sufferer. If the noise is continuous, you’d find it hard to concentrate and you’d probably find yourself not able to sleep. In some cases, it can even lead to depression.
Tinnitus isn’t always just one simple, continuous ringing noise. It comes in various forms and can come and go or be pulsatile. There may be a single noise or two or more components. Sometimes, the tinnitus sufferer will hear constant low pitch noise, and will assume it’s external noise such as the fridge, or their home’s heating.
The NHS estimates that approximately 6 million people in the UK suffer from mild forms of tinnitus, while 600,000 have serious tinnitus that affect their life quality. It’s these 600,000 who likely suffer from sleep problems and depression as a side effect of the problem.
So, with 10% of the British population suffering from tinnitus, how can it be treated?
The treatment of tinnitus depends entirely on it’s cause. For example, if the tinnitus is a result of earwax buildup, eardrops would be given, which would help break up the blockage before the earwax is removed by an appropriate practitioner. However, in a lot of tinnitus cases a cause can’t be found, in which case treatment would be given to help the sufferer deal with the condition. Using a small device called an environmental sound generator might be recommended to help sooth the tinnitus victim with some relaxing noises. In other cases, cognitive behavioural therapy can be given to help change the way the sufferer sees the condition and to help them manage it.
Overall, tinnitus seems like a minor issue, but can actually be a lot more severe. If you think you may be suffering from tinnitus, go and see your GP. Although there isn’t any clear cure, it can be managed.
For further information on Tinnitus visit the British Tinnitus Association’s website http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/