What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and/or ear which have no external source. It is derived from the Latin word for ringing. The sensation can be constant or intermittent and it can vary in volume. It is a symptom generated within the auditory system and usually is caused by an underlying condition. The noise may be in one or both ears, or may feel like it is in the head. It may be low, medium or high pitched and can be heard as a single noise or as multiple components. Occasionally people have tinnitus that can seem like a familiar tune or song, this is known as musical tinnitus or musical hallucination. Some people have tinnitus which has a beat in time with their heartbeat, called pulsatile tinnitus.
Who gets tinnitus?
Tinnitus is very common and is reported in all age groups. About 30% of people will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives, but the number who live with persistent tinnitus is about 10%. Tinnitus is more common in those with hearing loss or other ear problems, but can also be found in those with normal hearing.
· Exposure to music
· People working with loud machinery
· People exposed to loud bangs
· People who listen to headphones
What should you do?
If you have been hearing ringing or buzzing in your ears continually or regularly for a prolonged period of time you should consult your GP.
You can also visit this free tinnitus management e-learning programme: www.takeontinnitus.co.uk
Is there a cure?
There is currently no cure for tinnitus, but there are a range of ways that you can improve your quality of life with tinnitus. Counselling, correcting any hearing loss, sound therapy and relaxation are options which may help with managing the symptoms.
From the British Tinnitus Association: This year, alongside the Tinnitus Research Initiative, Tinnitus Hub and the American Tinnitus Association, we are giving Tinnitus Week a real international boost. A new website has been set up, as a central resource collecting all the initiatives which will be taking place in 2018.
This website can be found at www.tinnitusweek.com.
We've been encouraging organisations, from across the world, who deal with tinnitus and other hearing related issues such as hyperacusis and hearing loss, to work together to raise awareness of tinnitus during Tinnitus Week.