What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the term given for noises that individuals hear in their ears or their head when there are no other sound sources.
It is not a life threatening condition but it is a symptom, similar to an ache or blurred vision.
Approximately 10% of adults report tinnitus and each person's experience is unique.
What does it sound like?
It is frequently described as whistling, humming or buzzing and can sometimes be associated with hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, ear or head injuries, ear conditions or emotional stress, or a combination of things.
There is not always a clear explanation of how tinnitus is produced but current research would suggest it involves several of the body's systems and not just the hearing pathway.
The Auditory System
The auditory system is complex. Sound travels from the outer ear - the part we can see - through the middle ear, inner ear and up the auditory nerve and is interpreted by the auditory cortex.
The hearing system has many filters allowing us to tune in to certain sounds and filter out other sounds. The brain has systems that respond to the meaning of sounds, therefore affecting our reactions to sounds.
Many individuals feel they are unable to escape from their tinnitus and find it very beneficial to seek advice.
What can we do to help?
A full audiological assessment is performed to help us decide on the right form of treatment. An audiogram examines hearing ability and sound tolerance, tympanometry, to measure compliance of the middle ear and relevant questionnaires are also completed in the assessment.
There is no magic cure for tinnitus but many people are helped by having a consultation with our audiologist. This appointment forms the basis for tinnitus retraining therapy shaped to meet the needs of each patient.
There is also an opportunity to purchase different products that are extremely beneficial for tinnitus sufferers such as sleep pillows and sound balls. On occasions it is appropriate to consider the use of amplification using hearing aids.
Advice is also given regarding sound generators. This is not based on traditional approaches, but looks at a form of suppression to give periods of alleviation and is suitable to some individuals.
We also now have a variety of products available that can help reduce your tinnitus. Speak to our in-house tinnitus expert Sarah Foster.
For more information or to book an appointment please contact us on 01267 221977.