Tinnitus is constant, abnormal ear noise when no external noise is present. Sufferers complain of a ringing, whooshing or buzzing noise in their ears or head. It is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition.
What causes tinnitus?
There can be a multitude of reasons for tinnitus. It could be as simple as a build up of wax against the eardrum or as serious as a tumour on the hearing nerve. One of the most common causes of tinnitus is exposure to excessive noise, for example at a rock concert. Other causes can be:
- Excessive fluid in the inner ear (Meniere’s disease)
- Head or neck injuries
- Ear-bone changes (otosclerosis)
- Jaw joint problem (TMJ)
Do many people suffer from tinnitus?
Around 18% of Australians have tinnitus at some time in their lives. Severe tinnitus can be a major affliction and difficult to treat, but in the majority of cases, tinnitus symptoms reduce or even disappear over time with appropriate treatment.
Tinnitus and hearing loss
Tinnitus is a symptom of a fault in the hearing system, so it’s often associated with hearing loss. Even if there is no apparent hearing loss, tinnitus is a warning signal. See your doctor and protect your ears against excessive noise.
What should you do if you have tinnitus?
See your doctor and have your hearing checked by a Connect Hearing clinician. Some people may need to see an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. There may be a treatable cause.
What can you do to ease symptoms of tinnitus?
Avoid exposure to loud noise! Sudden or long-term loud noise can damage your hearing and cause or intensify tinnitus. Use ear plugs or other ear protection.
Other things to avoid:
- Headphones with loud music
- Some medications for arthritis, antibiotics and anti-depressants.