When you suffer from tinnitus, it’s hard for anyone around you to understand what you’re going through (because they cannot hear it).
Tinnitus can range from being mildly annoying – occurring from time to time or it can be full-on, interfering with life, work, sleep, and relationships.
In our clinic we help people suffering from all degrees of tinnitus.
You can fill out our “Personal Effects of Tinnitus” Questionnaire here.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition where someone experiences noises that appear to be originating in the ear or head. Our clients have described this sound as: ringing, buzzing, hissing, roaring, whining, whooshing, crackling, clicking, squealing, and drumming… to name but a few. I had one client who said she heard what sounds like a bumble bee. Another client describes her sound as “like a dial tone on the phone”.
Normally, tinnitus is not a dangerous or serious problem. It is usually a symptom of some other underlying condition and most often considered a nuisance. Hearing loss, ear injury, foreign objects in the ear, and circulatory system problems, for example, may cause the condition.
Though it rarely progresses into a serious problem, the condition is linked to fatigue, stress, sleep problems, concentration difficulty, memory problems, depression, anxiety and irritability.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a symptom of a variety of health conditions, blood vessel disorders, and effects from medications. The most common causes of tinnitus are age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noises, earwax blockage in the ear canal, and abnormal bone growth in the ear. Less common causes include an inner ear disorder called Meniere’s disease, stress and depression, head or neck injuries, and a benign tumor of the cranial nerve called acoustic neuroma.
Medications known to cause tinnitus include antibiotics, cancer treatments, diuretics, quinine and chloroquine for malaria, and aspirin.
Can Tinnitus be Prevented?
Some types of tinnitus may be avoided by following preventive measures. For example, it is not recommended to use cotton swabs to clean the ears (it pushes wax against the ear drum). In addition, tinnitus can be prevented by wearing ear plugs at work (if there is excessive noise), at rock concerts, at sporting events, and while hunting, using a lawnmower, and blow drying hair. Maintaining good cardiovascular health by exercising regularly may reduce the chances of developing tinnitus linked to blood vessel disorders.
How We Can Help
There are a number of ways you can find relief from tinnitus. In some cases, just learning to live with it and make it more manageable will help.
There are specific hearing aids that are designed to help with tinnitus. They work by creating a masking noise or a comforting noise that will help to shift your attention from the tinnitus.
90% of our clients (who suffer from tinnitus) report that, by wearing hearing aids to correct for hearing loss, their tinnitus noise is covered up (masked) to a degree where they don’t notice it while wearing hearing aids.
Often, tinnitus can’t be treated. Some people, however, get used to it and notice it less than they did at first. For many people, certain adjustments make the symptoms less bothersome.
Here are some tips that may help you:
Avoid possible irritants
– Reduce your exposure to things that may make your tinnitus worse. Common examples include loud noises, caffeine and nicotine.
Cover up the noise with a different noise
– In a quiet setting, a fan, soft music or low-volume radio static may help mask the tinnitus so you shift you attention to another sound.
– Stress can make tinnitus worse. Stress management, whether through relaxation therapy, biofeedback or exercise, may provide you some relief.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
– Alcohol increases the force of your blood by dilating your blood vessels, causing greater blood flow, especially in the inner ear area.
For more information about tinnitus or to ask a specific question about your treatment options, please call 604-528-8884 or email us below to book your consultation.