Tinnitus advice

Symptoms, causes and how to prevent and treat Tinnitus

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the condition associated with hearing noises that do not come from the environment around you, and it can occur in one or both ears. It’s surprisingly common – about 1 in 3 people experience it at some point in their lives. And while it is usually not a sign of anything serious, it can be very irritating and distressing for tinnitus sufferers. But there are treatments that can help.

Common symptoms of tinnitus

You frequently hear these sounds in one or both ears, or in your head, though not necessarily constantly – the noises can come and go:

  • Ringing
  • Hissing
  • Buzzing
  • Humming
  • Whooshing
  • Throbbing

Tinnitus can affect your concentration, your ability to sleep and result in feelings of anxiety or depression.

What causes tinnitus?

The cause of tinnitus isn’t known, but it is generally agreed that it occurs as a result of some kind of mental or physical change, and it is often linked to some form of hearing loss. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your hearing checked regularly and especially if you start experiencing any tinnitus symptoms, or have any concerns about your hearing.

Sound travels into our ears and the nerves in our ears take signals to our brain. Our brain receives too much information for us to process but it filters out what is not necessary, like background noise or incidental noise, such as a clock ticking, and then helps us decipher the sounds that are important.

If we experience hearing loss or an ear infection, the amount of information being sent to our brain changes and our brain responds to this change by trying to get more information from our ears. This extra sound information we experience is tinnitus.

Tinnitus treatment

Tinnitus treatment varies and understanding the underlying cause, and possibly being able to eliminate that cause, helps in treating it effectively. Schedule a consultation with your local hearing care specialist so they can examine your ears and establish whether the cause of your tinnitus is something that can be treated.

Tinnitus treatments include:

  • Ear wax removal
    A build-up of ear wax can cause a blockage in your ears, making it harder to hear, and causing tinnitus. Your nearest Amplify hearing care professional can help with safe and effective ear wax removal.
  • Hearing aids
    As tinnitus can be caused by a change in the sound being received by your brain, using hearing aids to restore your level of hearing can help. Some hearing aids also have a tinnitus-masking mode to help you block out the symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Sound therapy
    Background noise, like soft music, TV, radio or tinnitus relief apps, can help make your tinnitus far less noticeable.

Help with Tinnitus

  • Try and avoid things that make it worse – like loud background noise or added stress.
  • Relax – try deep breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
  • Find out more about self-help techniques for coping with tinnitus.
  • Talk to other people with tinnitus who know what you’re going through. There are tinnitus support groups.
  • Try not to focus on your tinnitus as this can make it worse. Instead keep yourself occupied with hobbies and pastimes that take your mind off it and use soft background music or sound therapy as a distraction rather than total silence.

We’re here to help with any concerns you have about your ears, and to offer relief from tinnitus.

Wearing a hearing aid can help

Tinnitus can be caused by hearing loss and your brain trying to compensate for the sounds it is not now receiving. Wearing a hearing aid to correct your hearing loss can help. Hearing loss is often gradual and can be hard to detect so it may go unnoticed. Schedule a free hearing check with your nearest Amplify hearing care professional to find out if you have hearing loss.