What is Tinnitus and What Help is Available?
Tinnitus comes from the Latin word for ‘ringing’. It is an auditory condition whereby the sufferer hears noises such as ringing, buzzing, whistling or even music which does not come from an external source. The noise can be constant or intermittent, it can also change in pitch and volume. See Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Tinnitus.
Mild Tinnitus affects about 1 in 10 people in the UK at some point in their lives (NHS Choices) but for some people, approximately 1 in 200, the Tinnitus is so severe that it has a huge impact on every day functioning (British Tinnitus Association). It can affect work, social life and even relationships with other people. See Living with the Effects of Tinnitus.
Tinnitus is not a disease in itself, but rather it is a symptom caused as a consequence of ear damage such as through exposure to loud noise, or an ear infection for example. There are numerous reasons cited for the onset of Tinnitus. It is important to examine the possible causes, as although not curable itself, the symptoms can be alleviated by removing the underlying cause of Tinnitus. See Understanding the Causes of Tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a fairly common problem affecting children, adults and particularly older people. Most people experience a brief period of ringing or some other sound in their ears at some point in their lives, but generally this is a temporary occurrence. In fact in an experiment carried out in the early 1950s on tinnitus found some interesting results. The experiment involved 80 people with normal hearing. After being placed in a soundproofed room for five minutes, the majority of respondents reported hearing tinnitus type sounds, although none had previously complained of any symptoms (Deafness Research).
To determine if you or someone close to you suffers from Tinnitus, it is important to see you GP to get a proper diagnosis. See Diagnosing the Causes of Tinnitus.
There are a number of different techniques to help people with tinnitus cope with the symptoms. Deciding which treatment to adopt is an individual preference as different solutions work better on different people. It is recommended if you suffer from Tinnitus, that you explore a range of options to see which suits you the best to make your symptoms more manageable. See Different Treatments for Tinnitus.
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