A sensation of hearing a sound in the absence of any external sound
With over 1 in every 8 people in the UK reporting persistent tinnitus, almost everyone reading this Tinnitus Awareness Week blog is likely to have a friend, family member, or work colleague with tinnitus.
For many it is not a particularly intrusive sensation, and although they are aware of it, it does not affect their quality of life. Even if someone finds their tinnitus very noticeable at first, the brain will act to gradually reduce the sensation over time. However, for some there are factors that can contribute to tinnitus that can be rather more persistent and the impact is more significant; affecting concentration, hearing, sleep, and mood, amongst other aspects of their life.
How can I get help?
Sadly, many who seek help from their GP for persistent tinnitus are told that nothing can be done and that they must “learn to live with” the condition. Fortunately this is simply not true. Whilst there is no “cure” for tinnitus there are lots of effective management strategies that can lessen the impact that tinnitus has on someone’s life. Audiologists and Hearing Therapists are trained to offer support and interventions to help those struggling with persistent tinnitus.
At North East Hearing & Balance we support the British Tinnitus Association as corporate members. To mark Tinnitus Awareness Week, which this year runs from 1st-7th February, the BTA have released a short film about the impact of persistent tinnitus which you can watch here. The BTA are a fantastic source of support for people with tinnitus and the professionals who support them.
How Can I Avoid Persistent Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is often, although not always, associated with hearing loss; particularly hearing loss caused by excessive noise exposure. Noise exposure can come from a variety of sources, both occupational and recreational. Taking care of your hearing through protecting against exposure to noise will reduce the risk of causing persistent tinnitus.
Another common cause of tinnitus is ear wax. This can block the ear canal or restrict movement of the ear drum, causing temporary hearing loss and tinnitus. Sometimes this can be relieved by ear drops but, if this is not successful, may require removal by an Audiologist or Ear Nose & Throat doctor.
Hearing loss and tinnitus are also more common in those who have diabetes (which can cause damage to nerve endings in the ear) and conditions which cause poor circulation (which can restrict blood flow to the inner ear). Therefore taking steps in terms of diet and exercise to reduce your risk of acquiring diabetes and cardiovascular disease will also help to reduce your chances of developing persistent tinnitus.
If you are having problems with tinnitus and would like to talk to us to discuss how we can help, please contact us.