What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the name given
to the condition of noises 'in the ears' and/or 'in the head' with
no external source. Tinnitus noises are described variously as ringing,
whistling, buzzing and humming. The noise/s may be heard in one
ear, both ears or in the middle of the head or it may be difficult
to pinpoint its exact location. The noise may be low, medium or
high-pitched. There may be a single noise or two or more components.
The noise may be continuous or it may come and go.
What causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease
or an illness, it is a symptom generated within a person's own auditory
pathways. Although it is often assumed that tinnitus occurs as a
result of disease of the ears, this is often not the cause. The
precise cause of tinnitus is still not fully understood but is usually
associated with some hearing deficits.
Who gets Tinnitus?
Experiences of tinnitus
are very common in all age groups, especially following exposure
to loud noise, however, it is unusual for it to be a major problem.
There is a widely held misconception that tinnitus is confined to
the elderly, but various studies have shown that it can occur at
any age, even quite young children. Mild tinnitus is common - about
10 per cent of the population have it all the time and, in up to
one per cent of adults, this may affect the quality of their life.
If you think you have Tinnitus...
See your doctor Tinnitus
is rarely an indication of a serious disorder, but it is wise to
see your doctor if you think you might have it. Should something
treatable be causing it, you might be referred to a specialist.
Try not to worry The noises may seem worse if you are anxious or
stressed. When tinnitus starts, particularly if it's sudden, you
may naturally be frightened and your concentration or your sleep
may be disturbed. You may get angry and frustrated because no-one
else understands, or you may live alone and not have anyone to talk
to about it - that's where the BTA can help.
Find out more You will probably feel better when you find out more
about the condition - that it's very common and you're not alone.
Many people say that they notice tinnitus less when they are doing
something. Keeping your mind occupied helps (but don't overdo things).
If the noises seem louder at quiet times, particularly during the
night, it may help to have soothing music or some other environmental
or natural sound quietly on in the background. Practising relaxation
and taking time out for yourself can also be a great help. If you
would like to talk to someone about any problems you have, we can
put you in touch with a support group near you. Many groups are
run by people who are living with tinnitus - personal contact and
shared experiences are very useful.
Source from British Tinnitus Association
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