Have you been experiencing a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears? This may be tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of a sound when there is no sound present externally. Some people describe hearing a ringing, buzzing, or whooshing sound in one, or both ears. Some individuals find it hard to describe where the tinnitus is coming from and describe it as being heard “inside the head” or “centrally”.
Tinnitus often varies from individual to individual. Some say their tinnitus fluctuates in volume and intensity, whereas others say that their tinnitus is constant and always sounds the same. Many people will experience tinnitus at some point in their life, however, most of the time it goes away and/or isn’t bothersome. Tinnitus can be a temporary or a permanent condition. Tinnitus is commonly experienced after being exposed to loud noise (eg. at a concert or music event) and can usually last for a few minutes, hours or even days.
Have you experienced that before? Some individuals however, experience tinnitus more often and it can be a permanent condition without a cure. While there is no “cure” for tinnitus, there are tinnitus management strategies that can be utilised to help make the tinnitus awareness less intrusive or bothersome to one’s everyday life.
It’s important to understand that there are common triggers to tinnitus that can exacerbate the intensity of the tinnitus. Excessive consumption of known stimulants such as, alcohol, caffeine and smoking can worsen tinnitus awareness. Increased stress and lack of sleep can also exacerbate it. These triggers often result in temporary changes to tinnitus so it’s important to be aware of what tends to trigger your tinnitus awareness and limit these trigger factors where possible. Most people will habituate to their tinnitus awareness over time with the help of an audiologist and/or psychologist.
Sometimes hearing aids can help to reduce tinnitus awareness by treating an underlying hearing loss however, not all people with tinnitus have a hearing loss. We must remember that everyone’s tinnitus is different, and their journey is unique.