February 5, 2012

Tinnitus Awareness Week 6-12 Feb 2012

10% of us suffer with tinnitus at some stage in our lives and approximately 50% find it moderately or severely distressing.

Despite it prevalence, routinely people are told that nothing can be done about tinnitus which misses the mark completely.

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an external auditory stimulation.

Often referred to as ‘ringing in the ears’ it is most commonly experienced as a high pitched noise sometimes having a mechanical, electrical or musical quality.

Tinnitus is commonly associated with a hearing loss and hyperacusis, the latter producing a reduced tolerance for everyday loud sounds.

First step in the process is to determine whether there is an underlying cause to the tinnitus which requires treatment. Your GP should be able to advise you on this and if necessary refer you to an ENT consultant.

Anecdotal evidence indicates many people are just sent away and told to learn to live with the noises which can be very distressing for them.

Reduced hearing can, in many cases, accompany tinnitus and there is evidence to support that this can go unnoticed if the focus is on tinnitus.

After assessment, treatment plans look to help habituation so that sufferers can learn to live with the noises rather than provide an out and out cure. Termed Tinnitus Retraining Therapy this is vey effective and the use of hearing aids is a key stategy in acheving a positive outcome for most people.

There are special hearing devices available which incorporate relaxation tones as well as digital amplification to improve hearing levels and there is further evidence to back up how effective these are in the battle against tinnitus.

For more information on Tinnitus look at the British Tinnitus Association Website tinnitus.org.uk or contact us to arrange an appointment for an assessment.