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This Tinnitus week (6th February – 10th February) and as part of our ‘How to’ series, we’re bringing you our guide to the first steps of dealing with tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition that affects about 15% to 20% of people and is especially common in older adults. It can be particularly tough to speak out about the challenges it can bring to a sufferer’s lifestyle.

Our team of experts at DigiClear are equipped to discuss any tinnitus complications you have and help resolve them. We’re taking you through some frequently asked questions so now, it’s up to you to take the first step!

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is where an individual’s hearing is affected by sound as if it’s coming from within their ear. Often, this takes the form of ringing or whistling but it can also sound like a humming or buzzing.

Most of the time, tinnitus comes and goes, but if it becomes particularly irritating, especially if it lasts for a long time, it’s a good idea to speak to one of our friendly audiologists. We’ll provide a full consultation and a range of strategies to help minimise the effects of your tinnitus.

How is Tinnitus treated?

Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss of some kind. Therefore, the first step is to conduct a full hearing assessment. Once we know how the hearing has been affected, we can take steps to treat the problems behind the hearing loss. Often, this will lead to tinnitus symptoms becoming far less pronounced.

Beyond treating hearing loss, there are several other treatments we can use to reduce the effect that tinnitus has on our patients. Although there is no definite cure, there are ways to provide tinnitus relief.

Sound therapy is a common solution that helps tinnitus sufferers. By providing a variety of relaxing, external sounds, the internal tinnitus noise can be lessened. We can provide you with a tailored series of relaxation exercises that can alleviate symptoms and offer ways to deal with tinnitus.

How is tinnitus caused?

Although we aren’t entirely sure yet how tinnitus develops, we do know many ways in which it can be caused. More often than not, tinnitus is caused by some kind of change within the ear. This could be a build-up of earwax, a perforated eardrum, an ear infection, or even due to other forms of illness. Stress can also be a contributor to tinnitus.

If you take medication for any medical conditions you have, it’s worth checking the side effects. Certain medications can cause tinnitus in some patients. If this is the case, consult your doctor and see if an alternative is available.

Outside of medical reasons, tinnitus has also been linked with exposure to loud noises over a prolonged period of time. Musicians often suffer from tinnitus due to this. Loud concerts, nightclubs, or even just listening to your music too loudly can all cause temporary tinnitus. Over time, this can lead to chronic tinnitus. Listen to your music at a sensible level and, if you’re going to a concert or a nightclub, consider wearing musician’s earplugs.

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a single cure for tinnitus. Questions remain around how tinnitus actually develops, so all we can do is combat the symptoms. That being said, many cases of tinnitus can be cured by dealing with the cause of it. For example, if your tinnitus is caused by a medical condition, it can be possible to get rid of the tinnitus by treating that condition.

It’s worth noting, though, that in roughly 85% of tinnitus cases, some form of hearing loss is present. We’ve found that in many cases, we’re able to manage the hearing loss and this leads to the tinnitus subsiding and improving over time. If you’re concerned about tinnitus, the first thing you should do is have your hearing tested. It can sometimes be difficult to notice hearing loss when tinnitus is present. Try our online hearing test and book a consultation to find out how we can help.

Don’t suffer in silence. Book a consultation today.