Tinnitus can be annoying. Sometimes it can be hard to think straight through the constant layers of irritating sound.
Tinnitus is a continuous noise in your ears that comes from no external source. It can be a ringing or a hissing, or a whistle, buzz, hum, or screech. It could be coming from one ear, or you may be experiencing the noise in both ears. In some instances other people can even hear it coming from your ears when it’s loud enough.
Almost everyone will experience brief bouts of tinnitus after exposure to extremely loud noises. Attending a loud concert can bring on short-term tinnitus and some medications like aspirin and anti-inflammatories can trigger temporary tinnitus too. It can also be caused by impacted earwax, middle ear issues and ageing. Tinnitus can cause concerns about permanent hearing loss, although it’s rarely if ever an actual precursor to permanent hearing loss.
The sound of your blood whooshing in your ears as your heart beats can actually be a form of tinnitus called pulsatile tinnitus, and is often caused by blocked and hardening arteries, or a tumour. If you experience this type of tinnitus, it is recommended you visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Tinnitus can become chronic and worsen, and in about 10% of cases it can begin to interfere with daily life to the point where professional intervention is required.
So how do you know if your hearing loss is permanent? Step one is to book an appointment with a hearing specialist.
After testing to determine the source of the problem you’ll be asked to describe the pitch and quality of the noise you hear. This information, along with your medical history and recent exposure to loud noises will be used to determine the severity of your tinnitus.
Currently, there’s no cure for tinnitus, although it can become less noticeable over time, which makes it easier to manage. People with tinnitus can lessen the impact by tuning out the noise with other sounds from noise generating devices. If your tinnitus is age-related, it may be possible to treat it with a hearing aid which will amplify external sounds making the tinnitus less noticeable. There is no single way that works for everyone, so you may need to try a few different techniques and perhaps several together in combination.
As tinnitus can be brought on by a number of factors including jaw clenching and grinding or neck muscle injuries, you may require massage therapy or stretching exercises.
Health, fitness, stress and diet can also impact the severity of your tinnitus so as always it’s best to keep your general health in check. And if you work around noise, remember to take the proper precautions.