TINNITUS

WHAT IS TINNITUS?

  • Simply speaking, Tinnitus can be defined as noises in the ear.  Other people do not hear these sounds as they are not in the actual listening environment.  These sounds are created by an individuals and can, therefore, be heard only by that individual. 
  • Tinnitus can be present in conjunction with a hearing loss or by itself in a normal hearing ear.  Although there are cases where Tinnitus is present in only ONE ear, it usually presents itself in BOTH ears.
  • Tinnitus occurs in varying degrees - from very mild to extremely severe.  For example, some people only notice the Tinnitus if the pay attention to it; while others have such severe Tinnitus that it interferes with their sleep and sometimes even their daily activities.

 

CAUSES OF TINNITUS

  • Excessive wax blocking the ear canal.  If this is the case, the Tinnitus symptoms can usually be alleviated by having the ear(s) cleaned by a doctor.
  • Foreign objects in the ear canal.  There have been documented cases of insects (such as flies and mosquitoes) finding their way into the ear canal.  Removal of these insects will rectify the problem.
  • Outer, middle, or inner ear infections.  Should be checked by a doctor.
  • Perforation of the ear drum.  Should be checked by a doctor.
  • Some medical conditions, such as Meniere's Disease, can cause Tinnitus.  If in doubt, consult a doctor.
  • Some medications can cause Tinnitus.  Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you as to what medications can cause Tinnitus.
  • Damage to the middle ear bones (collectively known as the ossicles).  Once again, a medical consultation is recommended.
  • Tumours.
  • EXCESSIVE NOISE EXPOSURE is the leading cause of Tinnitus.  Protect your hearing while you have it.
  • Blows to the head.
  • Aging.
  • Some allergies.

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR TINNITUS

  • Unfortunately, there is NO CURE for Tinnitus.  However, you can find ways of coping with it.  With some counselling and support (and sometimes even without it) many people often adjust to living with it.  (The American Tinnitus Association offers many tips and information about Tinnitus.  Their e-mail address is:  http://www.ata.org/home).
  • Turning your radio so it is just off of an FM station will produce a static sound that will sometimes cover up (or mask) the Tinnitus.
  • Sometimes, simply using a hearing aid will reduce or eliminate Tinnitus sounds.  In fact, there is a brand new hearing aid circuit available that has been specifically created for those experiencing Tinnitus issues.  (Please consult your local recognized hearing aid practitioner or audiologist office for more information.)
  • Biofeedback therapy can be incorporated.
  • Using a Tinnitus masking unit can be of benefit.  This unit produces a band of noise that surrounds the frequency (pitch) of the Tinnitus and subjectively causes the Tinnitus to disappear.  However, once the masking device is removed, the Tinnitus will still be heard.
  • It is important to keep a POSITIVE ATTITUDE and explore the options available.  Research continues into this phenomenon, and newer methods of treatment/coping may be discovered.