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Tinnitus

Noun; ringing or buzzing in the ears.

What is tinnitus?

A sudden ringing in the ears can be startling, and if it does not disappear, it can be confusing and sometimes even in life changing. Tinnitus is not a condition, but rather a symptom which can occur for many reasons & causes.

The tinnitus people experience, which only they can hear, is different for everyone. For some people, it is a ringing in the ears, for others it may be a buzzing, a whistling, a hissing, a roar, a chirp or a squeal. It may appear in one ear, or both.

Sometimes it goes away in a few days after a loud concert or a day on the tools. Sometimes it does not.

There are at least four types of tinnitus:

  • Acute tinnitus: This type is sudden and almost inexplicable. It is like a storm of noise, which blows through and passes. It may come and go. Generally, its lasts less than three months and is often treatable.
  • Chronic Tinnitus: as the name suggest, it is long term. The condition worsens & steadily becomes a central part of your life. Generally, if it lasts longer than three months, it is considered chronic.
  • Subjective tinnitus: According to the American Tinnitus Association, this is head or ear noise that is perceivable only to the specific patient. It usually results from auditory and neurological reactions to hearing loss- though many things can cause it. More than 99% of tinnitus cases are subjective.
  • Objective Tinnitus: This includes hear or near noises that are audible to other people. The circulatory system (blood flow) and somatic movements (muscolo-skeletal) produce the sounds. It is very rare; less than 1% of all cases generally.One example is the sound of a heartbeat powerful enough to reach the ear. (This is know as pulsatile tinnitus).

Things that can help

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Talk to someone who also has tinnitus

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Join a tinnitus support group near to where you live

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Relax more so that you feel less stressed

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An easy way to relax is to find a quiet place and take a few slow, deep breaths. Maybe have some music on in the background.

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Really notice how your breath enters your body, then leaves it. Keep breathing like this until you feel calm

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A lot of people find that background sound helps them. A radio, music or natural sounds like birdsong or a river.

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Meditation & mindfulness can help you find ‘peace and quiet’.

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Use your ways of relaxing to help you to sleep well

How can hearing aids help tinnitus?

The best way to overcome tinnitus is to shrink the ratio between sounds you don’t want to hear, and the sounds you do want to hear. To use Phonak’s analogy: a brilliant star set against a dark background shines brightest. It is impossible to ignore. But the same star dropped into the light of a noon sky is quickly lost; it disappears into the glare.

This analogy is the core principle of sound therapy, a common element of tinnitus treatment. Effectively, by providing sounds tailored for tinnitus, the ringing in your ears can be ‘washed’ away.

When embraced long-term sound, sound therapy teaches your brain to reclassify what it hears. Thus tinnitus, which once held centre stage, is then pushed out into the audience where it disappears; as an unnoticed sound in the background.

Our range of hearing aids at Advanced Hearing WA enables us to help you build a plan around sound therapy that matches your unique needs. This is essential to manage tinnitus effectively.

Although there are stigmas around hearing aids, technology has come a long way, in fact most hearing devices include wireless functionality which also enables the option of sound therapy to be streamed from a Bluetooth device.

The Phonak Lyric hearing aid is unique in that it is worn 24 hours a day, thus also providing continuous relief even while you sleep. Lyric hearing aid works by providing consistent amplification of sounds day and night so the ears always have additional sounds to focus on making the sound of your tinnitus less noticeable.

Lyric is ideally suited for those looking for a discreet solution, and not in need of a noise generator or streaming capabilities.

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