Understanding Tinnitus and Taking Your First Steps
We live in a world filled with incredible sounds, from the rhythm of our favorite music to the laughter of friends and family. There are occasions when we hear sounds that unfortunately do not originate from our external environment. It is not a disease but rather a symptom that is generated by the hearing center in our brain. These sounds can be described as the perception of ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other phantom sounds in the ears or head, with no external source.
This is our uninvited friend called tinnitus. It’s like having a persistent, pesky playlist or ringing and ocean waves stuck in your ears that you didn’t ask for!
Tinnitus can occur in one or both ears and affects millions of individuals around the world. Tinnitus is very common. Whilst tinnitus is more common in adults and often associated with hearing loss, tinnitus can occur in individuals with normal hearing as well as young children.
There are a range of factors that can trigger tinnitus. Below are some triggers:
- Exposure to loud noises
- Earwax blockage
- Certain medications
- Stress and anxiety
- Hearing loss
- Ear infections
- Head and Neck Injuries
- Jaw tensions and clicking
At Victorian Hearing we take a wholistic approach when it comes to tinnitus assessment and counselling of management strategies. No one’s hearing is exactly the same, and no two individuals’ tinnitus experience is the same. Remember there is always assistance to help reduce the intrusiveness of tinnitus and the first step in addressing tinnitus starts with a comprehensive hearing assessment with your audiologist. This assessment looks at how our ears detect sounds under headphones and a bone conductor (headband), speech discrimination under headphones and an ear pressure test to check the movement of the ear drum. All these tests provide an insight to how our anatomy may be influencing our listening experience.
Hearing loss is typically associated with tinnitus. Should a hearing loss be detected your audiologist will explain the results and management strategies in relation to your tinnitus. This relief can be provided through hearing aids or assistive listening devices.
The second component of a tinnitus assessment at Victorian Hearing is specific tests to understand the nature of your tinnitus. Some individuals have constant high-pitched tinnitus whilst others experience intermittent beeping or ocean roaring sounds. It is also possible to have multiple sounds in the same ear. A series of tests will be performed to determine which tinnitus relief method will be most suitable for you.
You can also take proactive steps to reduce the risk of tinnitus occurring. These steps are also related to preserving hearing.
1. Use Ear Protection: When attending concerts, music festivals, or loud events, use earplugs or noise-canceling earmuffs. They won’t dull the fun, but they will keep your ears safe!
2. Lower Volume Levels: Listening to music through headphones or earbuds? Keep the volume at a moderate level and take regular breaks to give your ears a rest.
3. Limit Exposure to Loud Noises: If you find yourself in noisy environments, step away for a few minutes to give your ears a break.
4. Get Regular Hearing Check-ups: Regular hearing assessments can help detect any changes in your hearing health and allow for timely intervention if needed.
Consider the Benefits of Hearing Aids
If you’re experiencing tinnitus alongside hearing loss, hearing aids can be a game-changer. Modern hearing aids come equipped with advanced features that can help manage tinnitus effectively:
- Sound Therapy: Some hearing aids offer sound masking features, which provide background sounds to help distract from the tinnitus noises.
- Amplification and Clarity: Improved hearing through hearing aids can enhance your overall listening experience, reducing the impact of tinnitus. At Victorian Hearing we also fit the world’s only invisible hearing aid that provides 24hours of wear time, 7 days a week. This is called Lyric. The Lyric device has a high probability of providing tinnitus relief as it is active 24/7, acting when our tinnitus is typically most intrusive – at night.
- Personalised Solutions: Audiologists can tailor hearing aids to suit your specific needs, ensuring optimal comfort and tinnitus management.
Our ears are like delicate instruments, and we hold the power to protect them from harm. Understanding what tinnitus is and how it can impact our overall health empowers us to take charge of our hearing and preserve our love for the world of sound. By adopting simple yet effective practices, such as using ear protection, being mindful of volume levels, and getting regular hearing check-ups, we can enjoy a vibrant future with all the incredible sounds life has to offer. So, let’s tune in to ear health and make a harmonious choice for our well-being today!
If you or someone close to you is experiencing changes in hearing, reach out to the team at Victorian Hearing your local, independent, and Australian owned and operated hearing clinic. With ten clinics across Melbourne, you are sure to find a friendly smile and support from the Victorian Hearing team. Call (03) 9558 8842 or book online.