Tinnitus is the presence of a sound in the ears or head that is not coming from an external stimulus. It may be a ring, buzz, whistle, hiss, hum, cicada-like sound, or even music. It can be in one or both ears, or feel as if it is ‘in the head’.
Better Hearing Australia (VIC) can help you with your tinnitus. Find out about our Tinnitus management service.
More about tinnitus
About 20 percent of the population experiences tinnitus. Tinnitus cannot harm you, but for some people it can be extremely annoying or distressing.
Tinnitus is not a disease but can be an indication of a problem in the auditory system. It’s important to see your doctor if you experience any prolonged tinnitus. In many cases no treatable cause is found. However, the tinnitus may still need to be managed and some people need professional help to manage their innitus.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is ‘normal’. Random electrical signals within the auditory system are sent to the brain but ignored because they have no meaning. We start recognising there is no importance to them from the day we are born. For most people this random electrical activity will always be ignored by the brain.
Although most of us have had a brief encounter with tinnitus, it is usually only for a few seconds and once our brain identifies it as non-threatening we go back to ignoring it. Many tinnitus sufferers also have hearing loss or some other ear problem. If the brain starts focusing on the auditory system it is more likely to notice the random electrical activity. Once this is noticed the problem really starts when negative thoughts produce concern, worry or even fear.
Managing your tinnitus
Most people manage their tinnitus through a process of ‘habituation,’ similar to the way we routinely habituate to sounds around us like traffic or a ticking clock. This means that the tinnitus is only noticed if attention is drawn to it. However, some people need help to accomplish this. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy combine to provide the tinnitus sufferer with:
- information about tinnitus
- positive strategies that can alleviate some of the problems
- ways of coping with the negative thoughts and the stress brought on by tinnitus
Recent studies have shown this combination of therapies gives better results than any other methods of management. At Better Hearing Australia, our Tinnitus management service can explain tinnitus and includes a free service for anyone concerned about tinnitus or any other hearing-related issues.