Tinnitus affects a great deal of Australians. It is estimated that 15-20% of the population, which correlates to around 4-5 million people, are currently experiencing ringing in the ears caused by tinnitus (Atik, 2011). It is also estimated that two-thirds of people will experience tinnitus throughout their lives (HealthDirect, 2021).
Ringing in the Ears
There are a wide variety of sounds that people with tinnitus experience, and many people with the condition describe it as a steady, high-pitched ringing in their ears. Tinnitus can manifest in a range of different ways. Typically, the ears ring, but affected individuals may also hear sounds like whistling, whooshing, hissing, buzzing, clicking, humming or even a ‘throbbing’ like sound. If your ears ring or if you are hearing any of the aforementioned disturbances when no external sound is present you are probably being affected by Tinnitus.
Sounds might alternate; you might hear them constantly or intermittently. One ear might be affected or both. It can even feel as though the sound originates inside your head in some cases. You may also experience a range of volumes when your ears ring. From loud and overwhelming to quiet and irritating, tinnitus affects every individual differently.
Causes of Tinnitus
There has been significant scientific research into tinnitus, its causes, symptoms and cures but experts have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of ringing in the ears. There are many risk factors that have been identified, however. anything that damages or affects the tiny hairs in the cochlea (cilia) could trigger or worsen tinnitus and ringing in the ears.
Frequent and constant exposure to loud noises can have a massive impact on the ears, destroying cilia and causing debilitating tinnitus symptoms. Working in loud factories, live music venues or even gunshots and explosions can trigger that constant ringing in ears.
Natural aging is another factor. As we grow old the cilia in our ears become damaged or completely destroyed due to natural degradation. Tinnitus is commonly felt as a symptom of age-related hearing loss.
There are also a plethora of health issues that can cause ringing in the ears. These include but are not limited to, hearing conditions such as Meniere’s disease, cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, head trauma, nerve tumours in the structures of the face, or even the regular consumption of some prescription medications.
Treatment and Relief from Ringing in the Ears Cause By Tinnitus
There is no established cure for tinnitus currently but there are many things our experienced Audiologists at Lions Hearing Clinic can do to help. Sound enrichment (sound therapy) is often administered to tinnitus sufferers with great success.
During a Tinnitus Appointment, we will discuss your hearing issues, lifestyle, and how your hearing issues impact your life. We consider all aspects that may be contributing to your tinnitus awareness based on detailed case history, along with a comprehensive hearing and tinnitus assessment, which will help uncover possible root cause/s of your tinnitus. There is a strong relationship between hearing loss and tinnitus, so depending on the results of your assessment, the Audiologist will recommend and guide you on what form of sound enrichment is best for you.
This sound enrichment might be self-managed or self-guided and may include a discussion with a Psychologist and appropriate devices.
We also offer a targeted hearing aid device called The Lyric which has also seen success in managing tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus is known to be the most problematic or have the biggest impact at nighttime. Lyric is an effective way of providing sound enrichment during both waking and sleeping hours.
A unique hearing device, the Lyric is a completely new concept. In comparison to daily wear hearing aids, it delivers constant, 24/7 amplification that relieves tinnitus faster and significantly improves sleep quality. Tinnitus disturbances are less pronounced with the Lyric than with other types of hearing aids. Additionally, tinnitus sufferers have shown that it can improve their sleep quality.
Book a Lyric assessment today and take advantage of our free trial!
- Atik, A. (2011). Pathophysiology and Treatment of Tinnitus: An Elusive Disease. Indian Journal Of Otolaryngology And Head & Neck Surgery, 66(S1), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12070-011-0374-8
- HealthDirect. (2021). Tinnitus. Healthdirect.gov.au, from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tinnitus.
- Lions Hearing Clinic. (2021). Tinnitus or ringing in your ears. Ear Science Institute Australia, from https://www.earscience.org.au/lions-hearing-clinic/our-services/tinnitus/.