Tinnitus affects many people, young and old, on a global scale. But what exactly is this hearing condition? Below we explore.
What is tinnitus?
Have you ever experienced ringing in your ears after attending a live concert or sports event? This is known as tinnitus, a condition where sounds are present within the ear but there is no external source making them. It can last a number of hours, days and for some people, every single day of their lives.
The condition can be caused by age-related hearing loss, buildup of wax and most commonly, over exposure to loud noise. The ringing sound is a sign that you have experienced dangerous levels of noise that have subsequently caused damage to your cognitive levels and cells within the ear, that cannot be regenerated. Tinnitus has also being proven to be related to hearing loss.
Tinnitus isn't an uncommon condition. Over 70 per cent of Australians aged between 18 and 34 have experienced tinnitus or ringing in their ears at least once1. However, 30 per cent of the entire Australian population live with tinnitus – over 7 million in fact.
Unfortunately, although tinnitus is an extremely common condition, there is no cure. However, there are easy ways to manage and minimise the effects of your tinnitus. Firstly, it is important to seek out the expert advice of a medical professional to discover the underlying cause for the correct treatment to then be implemented.
Treat your tinnitus
Whether you experience buzzing, ringing, whistling or hissing, any form of tinnitus is extremely irritating and annoying. Although not permanently harmful, the persisting ringing can disrupt and get in the way of many peoples' lives. With no concrete cure in place, those living with tinnitus have sought out and implemented a range of lifestyle choices and treatments to help manage the condition.
- Avoid silence: The last thing you want is your sole focus on listening to the ringing in your ears – you won't get anything done and it will only exaggerate the noises. Instead, allow your brain to focus on low level background sounds, such as music or the television. It's a great way to distract your mind.
- Reduce your stimulant intake: Coffee, nicotine, high levels of sugar and other decongestants can stimulate the effects of tinnitus for some people.
- Use protection: With over-exposure to loud noises being the most common cause of tinnitus, you must wear adequate protection to prevent the condition from worsening if you are exposed to loud noises on a daily basis. Ear plugs are a helpful and easy tool to block out excess noise.
- Try and remain relaxed: Keep your tinnitus under control by adopting calming techniques. Your state of relaxation reduces the alertness state of the brain, in turn allowing for your cognitive system to do the same, giving a more stress free bout of tinnitus.
- Get checked: One of the most important ways to manage your tinnitus is by getting a hearing check. Hearing aids have been proven to greatly reduce tinnitus distress due to the brain receiving more stimulation and 'aid', eliminating the need to search for sounds internally. Hearing aids also make it easier for your brain to listen and process speech, without straining, allowing for lower stress levels and higher hearing levels.
Although all people dealing with tinnitus may require different treatment techniques that may take shorter times than others, it's a great first step to speak to a medical professional about what is right for you.
If you're worried about ringing in your ears, book your *free hearing test with our friendly team. Alternatively, call us on 1800 940 982 to book in.
1Hear-it, 70 percent of young Australians experiencing tinnitus. Accessed July 2017