Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head not caused by an external sound source. Ringing and buzzing sounds may be heard in one or both ears or appear to be generally in the head region but can be variable and difficult to decide exactly where it seems to be.
Tinnitus is not an illness or a disease in itself, but it is often a symptom of a problem with the ear or the hearing pathways to the brain. Usually, it occurs when the inner ear is damaged or impaired in some way.
These are just a few of the most common causes, but it can also be a side-effect of medication or a result of other health concerns, such as high blood pressure. It is also commonly associated with age-related hearing loss, although it can affect anyone at any age.
It is often described as a “ringing in the ears,” but what people with this condition hear is extremely variable. Some people hear hissing, whooshing, roaring, whistling, or clicking. It can be intermittent or constant, single or multiple tones, or more noise-like. Probably the most common description for noise-induced tinnitus is a high-pitched tone or noise.
The volume or loudness is very individual and can range from very quiet to loud. For some, these noises can be intermittent and change throughout the day, or for others, can be more constant and unchanging.
Tinnitus is not a disease itself or a cause of hearing loss. It is a symptom that something may be wrong somewhere in the auditory system, which can include the cochlea of the inner ear, the auditory nerve and the areas of the brain that process sound.
In about 90% of cases, it accompanies hearing loss and an individual can have both hearing loss and tinnitus from noise damage. However the two do not always occur together. It is possible to have no measurable hearing loss but experience tinnitus.
While in many cases there is no ‘magical cure’ for tinnitus, there are a number of very effective options to manage the condition and your body’s response to it. As treatment plans are specific to individual needs, we’ll ask you some screening questions to find the best options for your lifestyle needs. We will conduct a full diagnostic consultation.
If other tests are required, we may refer you to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist.