Whether in the form of whistling, ringing or buzzing, the annoying sounds you may hear in your ears after attending a loud concert or event, predominantly pass with not much thought after they've gone. However, these noises are more than just irritating sounds – it's a sign that you have experienced dangerous levels of noise, scientifically and commonly known as tinnitus.
The damage subsequently causes deterioration to the tiny and important cochlear cells within the ear, which cannot be regenerated once destroyed.
Can you hear that ringing noise?
Tinnitus is a condition where an individual hears noises internally within the ears, such as ringing, but there are no external sounds causing them. For some, these sounds may last just a number of hours, whereas others can experience these noises every day of their lives.
You're not alone
On average, around 6,300 music gigs are played across the country each week, showcasing Australia's love for this art form1. However, according to WebMD, the average rock concert can reach sound levels of 120-129 decibels2 (dB), which is well above the guidelines of 85 dB3. Therefore, it's no surprise that 70 per cent of Australians aged between 18 and 34 have experienced tinnitus at least once in their lives4. On top of this figure, 30 per cent of the Australian population live with tinnitus5.
70 per cent of Australians aged between 18 and 34 have experienced tinnitus at least once.
Although extremely common, no cure has yet been found for tinnitus and so those living with the condition must find alternative ways to cope with symptoms. It's always wise to visit a medical professional before deciding which treatments to adopt.
How you can treat your tinnitus
Although tinnitus is not permanently harmful, it can be incredibly annoying, depending on the severity and frequency. There are tried and tested methods which can be easily implemented to make the condition more bearable to live with. These include:
1. Avoiding silence
Although silence may be the ultimate goal for a person living with tinnitus, attempting to escape the sounds will only keep your brain focused on the noises themselves and exaggerate them in the long run. Instead, apply a low level background noise, such as music or television, to keep your attention distracted.
2. Relax your body and brain
Maintaining a state of relaxation is an important factor for those experiencing tinnitus. This can be achieved through practising yoga or meditation and adopting calming techniques, as both can significantly reduce symptoms. Being relaxed enables the brain to adopt a lower state of alertness, which then allows the cognitive system to do the same thus ultimately producing a lower bout of tinnitus.
30 per cent of the Australian population live with tinnitus in their day to day lives.
3. Avoid stimulants
Caffeine, high levels of sugar, nicotine and other decongestants have been known to contribute to tinnitus symptoms and exaggerate them.
4. Get a hearing test
This is probably the most important step that individuals experiencing tinnitus can take. A hearing test not only checks cognitive levels, it can also assess whether devices or aids are needed. Hearing aids are known to greatly improve symptoms of tinnitus as they take the strain away from the brain when attempting to process speech. Plus, the additional 'aid' also contributes to lower stress levels.
If you're over the age of 26, receiving a hearing test is incredibly easy, and with Adelaide Digital Hearing Solutions, it's free*. To book, give our expert team a call on 1800 940 982 or click here to request your assessment.
1Artfacts, Music. Accessed August 2017
2WebMD, Harmful Noise Levels – Topic Overview. Accessed August 2017
3Safework NSW, Noise. Accessed August 2017
4Hear-it, 70 percent of young Australians experiencing tinnitus. Accessed August 2017
5Australian Hearing, Tinnitus: What it is and how to manage it. Accessed August 2017