Monday 5th of February marks the beginning of Tinnitus Awareness Week 2018.
Many adults in the UK suffer from tinnitus – it is estimated to be about 1 in 10, but many people are unaware of what tinnitus actually is, how it is caused and how it can treated – or avoided.
The British Tinnitus Association describes tinnitus as the perception of noises in the head and/or ears which have no external source. These noises can vary not only in pitch but also the type of noise, such as – ringing, buzzing, grinding or whistling which can be constant or intermittent.
Tinnitus can occur from a variety of causes, here are some examples:
- Stress and anxiety
- Close proximity to prolonged loud noise – such as music concerts, industrial workplace noise
- Head or neck injuries
- Hearing loss
- Ear infections
- Ear wax/foreign object which occludes the ear canal
- Ménière’s Disease – a rare disorder which effects the inner ear, usually accompanied by vertigo
- or changes to blood flow such as anemia or high blood pressure
It is always advisable to visit your doctor if you are experiencing prolonged ringing or buzzing in your ears – they will be able to tell you if you have a build up of wax, a foreign object in the ear or an ear infection. Your doctor may refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultant who will be able to assess your tinnitus and may be able to provide a clearer insight into the cause.
Whether your tinnitus is constant or intermittent there are ways of coping with it – here are a few examples:
- Relaxation techniques – breathing exercises, relaxation exercises
- Tinnitus apps – these feature white noise and rain noise and other soothing sounds to help you relax
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol or nicotine
- Try to avoid stress or anxiety where possible – addressing these issues will be beneficial
- Addressing hearing loss with hearing aids – Widex hearing aids with Zen tones are particularly effective at reducing your focus on tinnitus
Some causes of tinnitus are unavoidable, however there are ways that we can help to protect ourselves such as addressing hearing loss sooner or wearing noise protection when exposed to prolonged loud noise. A variety of ear plugs are available nowadays for motorcyclists, shooters, concert goers, musicians and industrial workers – have a look at our range of ear plugs and see if there is something that may benefit you.
If you or someone you know is suffering from tinnitus please visit the British Tinnitus Association website to find out more, you can even join a tinnitus support group in your area – https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/