As your dedicated audiologists in Fredericton and Oromocto, Audiocorp Ltd. is concerned with your overall hearing health. If you think you’re having a problem with tinnitus, we are here to help with counselling and management options specific for you.
Audiocorp is Here to Help You Take Control of Tinnitus With Tailored Counselling and Management Options.
Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears and affects about 20 percent of people.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition where individuals experience noises or sounds in one or both ears that do not originate from an external source. Patients often describe the sound as a high-pitched ringing but it can also be diagnosed with buzzing, whistling, hissing, roaring and various other sounds.
May Cause Problems Sleeping, Concentrating & Depression
In many cases, the noise you hear is only noticeable in quiet environments like bedrooms. You may not notice it at all during your day-to-day activities. This is a subjective condition that affects people in very different ways. It can become extremely loud and to a point where you hear nothing else. The noise you hear can be constant, intermittent or pulsating in nature and may cause difficulty sleeping and concentrating. Many cases of depression have been reported. Factors such as stress, diet and noise exposure can influence the degree of loudness.
Approximately 3 Million Canadians Suffer from Tinnitus
Studies have shown that 10 to 15% of the adult population and approximately 3 million Canadians suffer from tinnitus. Out of the 3 million, it is estimated that 20% or 600,000 seek help due to the severity of the condition. Tinnitus in itself does not cause hearing loss but may coincide with hearing problems and various other symptoms including ear pressure, unsteadiness, dizziness and vertigo. It may also occur with no other additional symptoms.
What are the Causes of Tinnitus?
While the exact mechanism underlying tinnitus is unknown, there are many researched causes of the condition, including disorders of the outer, middle or inner portion of your ear such as:
- Foreign body
- Perforated eardrum
- Ear infection
- Benign tumour
- Hearing loss from aging
- Meniere’s Disease
Tinnitus does not mean your hearing has decreased or that you have hearing loss. It is the symptom of a problem. Audiocorp encourages you to come see us or speak with your family physician for help.
The leading cause of tinnitus is noise exposure which is very preventable with appropriate hearing protection Other causes include:
- Head or neck trauma including whiplash or concussions
- Medications including anti-inflammatory drugs, some sedatives and antidepressants, certain antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents
- High / low blood pressure
- Vascular disorders
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
- Thyroid dysfunction
Your Management Options
Tinnitus can often be the symptom of a more serious disorder. The first step in treatment is to look for a medical cause. You should make an appointment with a skilled clinical audiologist, like the team at Audiocorp, who can then suggest referral to an otolaryngologist (ENT) if necessary.
If tinnitus is causing problems in your life, it’s important to remember that it can be managed. You should consider the following options:
- Counselling / stress management / relaxation: stress reduction can help control the loudness and negative impact of your tinnitus
- Diet: caffeine, alcohol, high levels of salt and other dietary factors can negatively impact the condition
- Auditory habituation: therapy where noise is presented in both ears at a soft level through noise generators. The goal is for the brain to habituate to the sound of your tinnitus.
- Amplification through hearing aids: hearing aids can be very effective in relieving tinnitus and help you hear better if the condition is associated with hearing loss
- Masking: creating white noise to mask the ringing or buzzing through an external electronic device can by effective
Consider the Following Management Strategies
Take control of your tinnitus with the following helpful tips:
- Avoid complete silence
- Stay busy and avoid focusing on the condition
- Eat properly and drink plenty of water. We advise you to reduce or eliminate salt, caffeine and alcohol from your diet.
- Take steps to control stress in your life
- Wear protective hearing in noisy situations or avoid the situation entirely
- If you suffer from hearing loss, hearing aids will enhance the masking benefits of your environment
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you are taking and the relation to tinnitus
- Use your bedroom for sleeping only. Avoid reading, watching TV, working, etc.
- If unable to fall asleep, leave the bedroom. Occupy yourself in another room and then go back to the bedroom when you feel ready to sleep again.
You can learn more about tinnitus by reading an article from Oticon Canada.