Tinnitus is surprisingly common – about 10% of people experience it all the time.
Although it can’t be cured, you can take control of it to significantly minimise its impact.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be a ringing, buzzing, hissing or roaring sound, and may be temporary or permanent. This noise in your ears or inside your head is unique to you. An estimated 80% of people who suffer from tinnitus also experience some degree of hearing loss, though they may be unaware of it. However, even though tinnitus often goes hand-in-hand with hearing loss, it is not a disease. Tinnitus is a symptom that can be caused by many things, and even begin for no apparent reason. But it can have a major impact, bringing stress, anxiety, anger and sleep loss. The first step towards taking control of your tinnitus is to consult a professional, so that together, you can find the treatment plan that will work for you.
The many causes of tinnitus
Tinnitus can originate anywhere between the inner ear and the brain and can be constant or intermittent, temporary or chronic. It is still uncertain exactly how tinnitus begins, but it can result from a variety of causes, just as hearing loss does. However, it can also occur for no apparent reason.
When we hear, sound waves travel through the ear canal to the middle ear and then onto the brain. Hair cells in the inner ear transform the sound waves into electrical signals, which then travel to the brain. The brain translates these signals into meaningful information — the sound we hear.
So what creates the perception of sound where there is none?
Although the causes appear to vary, experts suspect that in many cases tinnitus results from damage to hair cells in the inner ear. Experts believe that the brain sometimes misinterprets the reduced signals from the ear, resulting in a perception of sound — tinnitus — that isn’t really there. You should always consult a physician or hearing professional if you are experiencing any symptoms of tinnitus.
There are many ways to take control of your tinnitus and reduce its impact on your life, although your tinnitus may not go away entirely. Everyone has a unique experience of tinnitus, so a hearing care professional can help you manage your particular symptoms using a combination of education, counselling and sound therapy.
Sound therapy relieves the symptoms of tinnitus
Listening to sounds can be a helpful tool for managing your tinnitus. Adding pleasant sounds to the sounds you hear already can reduce the impact of tinnitus by helping you move your attention towards the sounds you want to hear, rather than the sound in your head. Compare it to listening to a single violin in a room. Alone, you can only focus on the violin, but if you add a symphony orchestra to the violin, it becomes less distinct and part of the overall sound.
Hearing aids that play relieving sounds
Oticon Opn hearing aids can help you take control of your tinnitus by playing a wide range of relief sounds like white noise and soothing ocean-like sounds. With Oticon Opn, you can discreetly control the sounds in your hearing aids using the Oticon ON App for iPhone and Android. You can adjust the sounds until they give the relief you need — wherever you find yourself needing it.What’s more, you can wirelessly stream alternative tinnitus relief options, such as your favourite music, audio books, podcasts, or even relaxation guides.