Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a condition where you hear sounds in your ears when no external physical noise is present. Tinnitus is a latin word that means “to ring like a bell”, however it can present as a host of other sounds such as whistling, buzzing, roaring etc. Tinnitus has a number of causes.
Common Causes of Tinnitus:
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noises
- Some medications (both prescription and non prescription)
- Ear and head injuries
- Some diseases and infections
- Emotional stress can cause and significantly worsen tinnitus.
The most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. Even in the case of a mild hearing loss, the brain lacks the stimulus to which it is accustomed. It starts to search for stimulus and tunes in to the internal noises within the head and body and amplifies them. Tinnitus related to hearing loss can be treated with a hearing aid. When the tinnitus is mild to moderate and a hearing loss is present, a hearing aid can help reduce tinnitus by amplifying the outside sounds the brain is used to hearing. The brain naturally emphasises these external sounds and they become more pronounced, so the tinnitus is masked and hearing improves.
Treatment and Management for Tinnitus
- Some patients also with a hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid.
- Limit exposure to loud sounds. Wear ear protection.
- Healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
Tinnitus is a distressing and alarming symptom. There is no ‘cure’ for tinnitus, rather it is a matter of finding management strategies and adjusting to the condition. Many of our patients however, have found relief through a hearing aid when their tinnitus is accompanied by a hearing loss. If you are living with tinnitus we urge you to consult with our audiologist and have your hearing tested to identify potential causes and possibly reduce the tinnitus.