Ringing, buzzing, whistling, roaring, humming and/or other noises in your ears can drive you insane - and honestly, make you question whether you already are. You know the sounds aren’t real, so why do you hear them?
Tinnitus refers to the background noise people sometimes hear in their ears. It can manifest itself as a ringing, buzzing, whistling, humming noise, even like a roaring ocean or a locomotive puffing away. It can be constant or intermittent, often at night when there are no other sounds to focus on, and can affect people emotionally and in their everyday lives. Because it is subject to the brain’s sound processing, it is challenging for anyone else to monitor the noise you hear. But you are not going crazy, this is, unfortunately, a natural and all-too-common phenomenon.
What causes Tinnitus?
The sensation of noise comes from the brain trying to process underlying sound and not being able to correctly. Your inner ear has a large number of tiny hair cells which the brain uses to interpret sound and let you understand what you hear. When those hair cells have been damaged, however, your brain can struggle to interpret the sound signals and makes up for what it can’t hear by covering up with sound. Some of the factors which can lead to tinnitus include:
- Prolonged exposure to loud noise
- Damage and loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear
- Certain medications
- Anxiety and psychosocial stress
- Hearing loss
What Should I Do?
There is no permanent cure for Tinnitus, but it can be managed so the effect it has on your quality of life can be minimised – if you seek help from the right people. An audiologist will be able to assess the level of tinnitus you are experiencing and look at options to alleviate it. This can include playing other sounds at night to concentrate on and help you fall asleep, looking at mindfulness or meditation training to lessen the stress caused, and thus the sound. Sometimes they may even recommend hearing aids – even if you do not show a hearing loss – many of which have built-in tinnitus programs and which serve to feed your brain other sounds it can interpret.
So call us to book an appointment for professional advice from our audiologist at Falls of Sound, and tackle tinnitus head-on.