What is Tinnitus?
This is the noise that many people hear in their ears, maybe just one ear or perhaps in their head. It may be a ringing, or cicadas, or a buzzing, or the roar of the sea or a whistling noise. Some people manage it quite well and just get used to it while others find it distracting and debilitating.
Studies show that 3 out of 5 people suffer from tinnitus. It can become louder as a result of loud noise, in times of stress or after drinking coffee or some carbonated drinks.
What causes Tinnitus?
The cause of tinnitus is not always apparent. It may be caused by a problem in the hearing pathway – perhaps in the cochlea, the external ear canal, the auditory nerve or the brain.
Some of the more common causes of tinnitus are:
- Wax occluding the ear canal
- Exposure to loud noise
- Trauma – either acoustic or physical
- Middle ear infection
- Hearing problems
- Meniere’s Disease
- Dental or TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint issues)
Tinnitus can cause anxiety and reduce sleep. It can seriously disrupt the daily lives of some people – especially if it is accompanied by a hearing loss.
The onset of tinnitus requires investigation, so please discuss these symptoms with your doctor and arrange a hearing assessment.
What makes Tinnitus worse?
- Sudden Acoustic Trauma (loud noise/explosion) or long-term exposure to loud noise can result in tinnitus and a hearing loss.
- Industrial Deafness – working in a noisy environment without personal hearing protection.
- Recreational Noise – loud concerts (without hearing protection)
- Loud volume on your personal music device. If others can hear the music while you have your Ear buds/phones on, then it’s too loud.
- Caffeine not just in coffee, it’s in tea,chocolate, cola drinks and some energy drinks
- Some anti-inflammatory drugs
At Westside we can carry out an evaluation of the tinnitus and provide some strategies for managing the distraction and annoyance. In many cases it is possible to reduce the impact of the tinnitus.
Contact the clinic to make an appointment and a comprehensive assessment of your hearing as well as a Tinnitus Functional Index Evaluation will be carried out. This Questionnaire is also part of the evaluation for DVA Clients and their benefits from the Australian Govt.
For more information about Tinnitus, read the Tinnitus page on the Deafness Forum of Australia.
If you know of any family, friend or person you care about that shows symptoms of tinnitus, please ask them to give Westside Hearing and Balance Clinic a call on 9749 4444 or book an appointment. Although tinnitus cannot be cured, it can be managed.