In Australia, 18% of people live with a constant ringing, whistling, hissing or whooshing in their ears. This sensation is known as tinnitus and for those who have it, daily life can be a struggle. Tinnitus can be very painful, frustrating and unrelenting leading to feelings of anxiety and hopelessness in sufferers. While there is currently no cure for tinnitus there are ways to treat this condition to make it more manageable and reduce its severity.
If you have tinnitus we recommend speaking with an audiometrist who will begin by identifying the cause. This is an important step that will help to make sure the tinnitus is not caused by another treatable problem. If your audiologist finds that a hearing loss is present then it is likely a hearing aid will reduce the problem. In fact, for some people wearing hearing aids will completely alleviate the condition.
People suffering from tinnitus with no hearing loss can use a Therapeutic Noise Generator device to help cope. This device looks like a hearing aid and produces a blend of external sounds that stimulate fibres of the hearing nerve, helping deviate attention away from the tinnitus. When using this device, sufferers of tinnitus will receive a much-needed break from the debilitating sound inside their head.
If need be, your audiometrist may refer you to a clinical psychologist who offers Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help alleviate the distress caused by tinnitus. In these sessions people learn to adapt to tinnitus by discovering ways to focus attention away from the condition and achieve control over stress, which can sometimes be a contributing factor.
Unfortunately, there is no specific surgical treatment that can cure tinnitus. However, where tinnitus is related to another ear problem, such as otosclerosis or middle ear effusion, successful surgical treatment may cause it to disappear. Furthermore, accurate diagnosis and treatment of Meniere’s disease may result in significantly reduced tinnitus.
Sadly there is no standard fix for tinnitus. If you’re very lucky it will disappear overtime but for most people this is not the case. Generally the sooner a sufferer seeks help, the better their chances of significant improvement. If tinnitus is something you are struggling with we suggest talking with an audiometrist to help manage the condition. Contact us today to book an appointment with Soren our head audiometrist.