Many people simply live with tinnitus but there are ways it can be managed.
Almost one in every five Australians experience an enduring or recurring ‘ringing in their ears’ – known as tinnitus. Despite the number of people who suffer from the condition, there are probably many who don’t know what having the condition means and while many people simply live with the condition, there are ways it can be managed.
Common causes of tinnitus
It’s important to note that tinnitus is not nescessarily caused exposure to loud noise, and that the reason for the ringing in your ears can be, as noted below, something more simple:
- Hearing loss – having to strain to hear can raise tinnitus levels
- Some medications – tinnitus can be a side-effect of common medicines such as antibiotics and arthritis pills
- Stress and fatigue – high stress levels and a poor night’s sleep can combine to make tinnitus worse
- Caffine – tea, coffee, colas and chocolate can all increase the severity of tinnitus, along with food and drinks containing quinine
- Smoking – can create tinnitus by restricting the blood flow through your ear canal and limiting the supply of oxygen
- Alcohol – red wine and champagne are particularly well known for setting off tinnitus.
What does tinnitus sound like?
Secondly, recognising you have a problem is the first step to being able to manage your tinnitus. The symptoms of tinnitus can vary in strength, pitch and frequency, so even though you may not be aware of the issue all the time, you should have your hearing checked if you notice any of the sounds in one or both your ears:
How is tinnitus treated?
For some people, the very lucky few, tinnitus can simply disappear as suddenly as it occurred. However, you shouldn’t wait around hoping for this to happen, as the sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome is likely to be. The cause of your tinnitus will depend on the treatment, but it may be that a hearing aid can help alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Hearing aids work by:
- masking the noise resulting from tinnitus so the sufferer is less aware of it
- increasing external noise to stimulate the auditory response from the brain
- amplify the volume from television, radio, telephones, etc. to be greater than the tinnitus noise, so the perception is that the tinnitus noise is less audible
If you think you may have tinnitus, don’t delay in having your hearing checked. You can book a free* hearing health check up with HearingLife.
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