Tinnitus can be described as a ringing or buzzing in the ears however Tinnitus can sound like any number of things and is usually different for every individual. Tinnitus can sound like trucks on a highway, trains, helicopters, music, people talking or singing and many more. The common factor is that tinnitus is usually annoying!
Tinnitus can be caused by numerous things such as age-related hearing loss, compacted ear wax, medications, ear injury, loud noise, stress, alcohol,smoking, Menieres, Eustachian tube dysfunction, TMJ disorders, head and neck tumours, Otosclerosis and other chronic conditions including diabetes and thyroid problems.
There are also two types of tinnitus one is Subjective and the other is Objective. Subjective tinnitus is only heard by the person experiencing the tinnitus. However Objective tinnitus is uncommon and is sometime loud enough to be heard by others.
There have been many studies done on tinnitus and in the early stages of my career I did a survey to gauge the effectiveness of hearing aids and their ability to help mask tinnitus. I submitted my results to our APB magazine and on the opposite page to my results was a study carried out by Starkey (hearing aid manufacturer) and our results were the same. In 64% of cases hearing aids helped mask or minimize the tinnitus experienced by the hearing aid wearer. It is not guaranteed that hearing aids will help mask tinnitus however it is worth trying if your tinnitus is annoying and you have hearing loss. Most hearing aids have a tinnitus masker in them and combined with amplification and with the tinnitus masker on this can help some people.However in my experience in most cases hearing aids will mask the tinnitus whilst wearing them.
There are also phone apps that you can install on your phone with information and ways of coping with your tinnitus. Some of these are Resound Relief, Tinnibot, Beltone Tinnitus Calmer. There is also the Australian Tinnitus Association - http://www.tinnitus.asn.au
If you are at all concerned about your tinnitus or if you have a sudden onset of tinnitus or one sided tinnitus it is always a good idea to have a hearing test or to see your GP to have this checked out.
Prevention and early treatment can significantly help to minimise the effects of hearing loss. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our in-house hearing tests.