What is tinnitus? Tinnitus describes any sound that is heard but not caused by an external sound source. Tinnitus is very common and can develop gradually or suddenly.
What are the sounds associated with tinnitus? Tinnitus can be heard in many different ways. The sound of tinnitus is often described as a ringing, buzzing, crickets, rushing or seashell sound. The perception of tinnitus sound completely depends on the individual.
What are the first signs of tinnitus? Tinnitus is usually most noticeable in quiet situations where there are no other distracting sounds present. Therefore, tinnitus awareness is usually first noticed at night when trying to go to sleep.
Causes of tinnitus: There are many possible causes of tinnitus awareness. These include: Hearing loss, noise damage, certain medications, middle and inner ear conditions, injury to the head, viral infections, spinal and neck injuries, reduced blood flow to the ear, neck pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, high blood pressure and elevated stress levels.
Effects of tinnitus: If not well managed, tinnitus can become very invasive in one’s life. It can cause stress, anxiety, fatigue, frustration, and irritability. Tinnitus most commonly affects one’s ability to get to sleep.
Is there a tinnitus test to see if you have tinnitus? There are many ways of measuring the severity of one’s tinnitus and the impact it has on a person’s life through the use of scientifically calculated questionnaire tools.
Adapting to tinnitus: The most important first step is to have the cause of the tinnitus awareness investigated. Once sinister causes have been ruled out, the individual can have peace of mind that their tinnitus is not a sign of a serious medical condition. Then we can teach strategies to help one habituate to their tinnitus awareness (where tinnitus is still heard but does not cause distress or have an effect on day-to-day life).
Managing tinnitus: Some management strategies for tinnitus include ahearing aidsfitting to treat underlying hearing loss, stress and sleep management, a low salt diet, avoiding certain medications (where safe to do so), sound enrichment and distraction techniques, avoidance of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, exercise, and counselling techniques.
What can Gippsland Audiology do to help with tinnitus relief? A thorough hearing assessment including detailed case history, hearing and middle ear function tests and tinnitus severity assessments, can help to identify the possible cause of tinnitus awareness. These tests can also be used to determine if further investigation by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist is required. Once we have more information, we can begin to work with you to create a management plan for your tinnitus awareness, specific to you.
What is the most effective treatment for tinnitus? The most effective tinnitus management/tinnitus treatmentstrategy depends on the individual and the cause of their tinnitus. However, if there is a hearing loss present, hearing aids are the most effective way to treat the underlying cause of tinnitus and “mask” the tinnitus sound. It is important to note that not everyone with tinnitus awareness will have a hearing loss.
We are Gippsland’s only full-time team of local independent audiology experts. Servicing communities in Warragul, Drouin, Bairnsdale, Moe, Newborough, Trafalgar, Morwell Churchill, Traralgon, Rosedale, Sale, Leongatha, Korumburra, Foster & Wonthaggi.