People suffering from tinnitus usually describe it as a ringing, buzzing or whistling noise. It is surprisingly common, with around 18% of Australians suffering from it at some stage in their lives.
Tinnitus can vary in severity and even though most people have a relatively mild form, it can have a big impact on their quality of life.
Tinnitus is a physical condition. In other words, it is not something you imagine. There are a number of possible causes, but it is quite often associated with hearing loss.
Some possible causes of tinnitus
- Excessive noise
- An issue in the hearing pathway
- Accumulated wax in the ear
- A medical condition
- Otosclerosis (calcification of the bones in the middle ear)
- Meniere's disease
Things that could make tinnitus worse
- Stress and fatigue
- Caffeine, tea, coffee, coca-cola, chocolate, alcohol, nicotine and marijuana
Myths about tinnitus
There is no treatment for tinnitus.
False!While there are no medications for tinnitus, there are other treatments that can effectively alleviate it. Hearing aids are one of the options which can be used to provide acoustic stimulation to the nerve pathways in the ear so that, over time, the tinnitus may become less bothersome even when hearing aids aren't worn.
Tinnitus causes deafness.
False!Some people who have tinnitus also suffer from hearing loss, but tinnitus doesn't cause hearing loss. If you have tinnitus, it's a good idea to have your hearing tested.
Tinnitus is symptom of a serious illness.
False!Even though tinnitus is occasionally triggered by an illness, it is rarely a symptom of a serious problem. Please talk to your GP if you have any concerns. Your GP may refer you to an Audiologist, Audiometrist or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist for further investigation.
The following Victorian AudioClinic clinics specialise in tinnitus treatment: