During the month of February is Tinnitus awareness week and as Tinnitus is a common complaint for many of the customers I see I decided to write this short blog. As always please leave any questions or comments and I will get back to you asap.
WHAT IS TINNITUS?
Tinnitus is defined as- “ringing or buzzing in the ears”. However this is quite a basic statement as it can also be a hissing, clicking or roaring sound, some people have even reported it sounded like music being played in the distance. This can present in both or just one ear and can vary in pitch and severity.
It affects many people and can often come hand in hand with a hearing loss, although there can be other causes of tinnitus too. In this blog I will be discussing the help available for tinnitus sufferers, which is as a result of hearing loss. For information on other types of tinnitus or for more information please visit the British Tinnitus Association – www.tinnitus.org.uk.
CAN IT BE PREVENTED?
People can experience tinnitus as a result of ear infections. When I was a child I suffered with ear infections and for me the first symptom I would get would be pulsing tinnitus in my ears. Some infections can be prevented, for example if you wear ear plugs or hearing aids make sure to keep them clean to prevent infections being introduced in the ear.
For many tinnitus occurs due to a change in their hearing levels so the one thing you can do to prevent hearing loss is avoid loud noise or use ear protection when needed.
HOW TO MANAGE TINNITUS
Many people find that wearing a hearing aid helps to distract them from their tinnitus. If your tinnitus is due to hearing loss then the hearing aids open up new sounds to you which previously you would not have heard and this in itself can help distract users from their tinnitus. There are also various manufacturers now who have dedicated tinnitus programmes. They can vary from pink noise, white noise, natural sounds, some can be modified to suit your preference so ensure you discuss your tinnitus with your Audiologist when looking at hearing aids. There are also accessories available to purchase such as sound generators which play out various sounds such as nature sounds, white noise etc. which can be used at night when you would not be wearing your hearing aids.
However some people who find that their tinnitus is still causing them distress may require additional help and if it is in one ear or pulsatile you should see your GP.
Until next time, take care – Helen