Why Tinnitus Can be More Painful and Annoying Than Stepping on Lego
“Last night after a busy day of working and running around after my family, I was feeling tired and stressed. Everyone had gone to bed, I turned off the TV and took advantage to sit quietly with my feet up to read my book. Quietness did not last long, suddenly I heard a high pitched “WHHHEEEEEEEE” squealing in my right ear that lasted for a couple of minutes. What is that sound?
I’m not the only one in my family unit of four to hear unexplained noises and sounds. My teen daughter is a vertigo migraine sufferer and experiences clicking, and high-pitched noises before, during and after the onset of a migraine or headache. My husband has hearing loss in one ear and a build-up of wax in both ears generates intermittent noises. My son is not hearing sounds yet, but after playing with his Lego on the floor with his music up loud it may not be too long before we will have to manage his too!”
– Heather, mum of two, aged 51, shares her story with us.
Do you experience unexplained and annoying sounds in your ears or head?
The sounds of birds chirping, but there are no cheerful birds to be seen. Or ringing or buzzing sounds, but there is nothing in sight that could be making these noises. If you do, you’re not the only one. Like Heather, you maybe one of the 2 in 3 Australians who experience the discomfort of tinnitus at some stage in their life 1.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus derives from the Latin word tinnire meaning “ringing.” The most common sounds described are either hissing, humming, buzzing, clicking, whooshing, or a roaring in the ears. Sound can be heard in one or both ears and can vary in level of sound from faint or loud. Tinnitus may come and go or can be continuous. For some people they may experience pain in the ear or dizziness.
What causes Tinnitus?
A sudden onset of unexplained sounds can be at times confusing, disorientating and for some people life changing – and not in a good way. You would be surprised to find out how common tinnitus is. There are health conditions and / or lifestyle choices that could be causing your tinnitus.
Tinnitus may occur when there is a problem with the auditory (or hearing) system, which is made up of the ears and parts of the brain. It is more common in people who have some hearing loss or other ear problem, but it can also occur in people who have normal hearing.1.
Both children and adults can experience tinnitus. As we mature and age you may find your tinnitus increasing.
Some tinnitus sufferers have expressed that they have experienced emotional distress, depression, and feelings of isolation with the condition, with the pure frustration at the annoying noises and sounds. Expressing feelings of helplessness and worry at the thought that the condition could be getting progressively worse with time.
Tinnitus can become louder in the quiet silence of the night for some people, bringing with it a restless night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can bring with it fatigue and irritability for individuals. For some people, this has had an impact on their relationships with family and friends, as well as their own wellbeing.
Is there a Cure for Tinnitus?
Although tinnitus is not curable there are various effective solutions that can alleviate the discomfort of the condition. It is estimated 10 – 15% of the population has tinnitus and, in most cases, it goes on untreated.2. This is due to a lack of information and the fact that most people are unaware of who will understand their condition, and who can assist them. It may be as simple as adjusting some of your lifestyle choices or counselling, or for some it may require long term solutions.
Tinnitus mostly can be minor; it can also be linked to some underlying health conditions or hearing loss. It is important to seek professional advice to discuss your tinnitus with either your doctor or by speaking to a qualified Victorian Hearing audiologist, specialising in tinnitus management.
Are there solutions available to help Tinnitus?
There are a number of solutions that can help to alleviate tinnitus. The advancements in hearing aids can offer much needed relief to some tinnitus sufferers.
- 100% Invisible – Placed in your ear canal, Lyric remains completely out of sight – invisible to the world.
- Clear, natural sound – Lyric uses the natural anatomy of your ear to localise sound and delivers a full, natural listening experience.
- 24/7 hearing and tinnitus relief – Wear Lyric around the clock for months at a time without taking it out* through daily activities such as exercising and sleeping**.
Research indicated Lyric devices:
- Reduce tinnitus annoyance faster than daily wear hearing aids.
- They improve sleep quality and is a suitable choice as part of a tinnitus management program for people with hearing loss.3.
Why the reference to Lego?
Have you ever stepped on Lego? It can really hurt initially, be uncomfortable for a short or prolonged period of time (depends on how many you stepped on!) And annoying. Heather found a solution by talking it over with her son. They agreed together to store his Lego on his desk in containers, and no longer building Lego on the floor.
The message here is to seek out possible solutions and discuss your situation with the right people. There may be solutions available to you that are right for you. At the very least get the professional advice you need on how to manage tinnitus.
For people with Tinnitus and/or hearing loss Victorian Hearing recommend a comprehensive hearing assessment with one of our dedicated, trusted and caring Audiologists across Melbourne in 10 locations.
1. Healthdirect. (2022). Tinnitus, symptoms, treatments and causes. Australian Government Department of Health. Retrieved from Tinnitus – symptoms, treatments, and causes | healthdirect
2. Hoffman, H. J. (2004). Epidemiology of tinnitus. Tinnitus theory and management, 16-41.
3. Power, D. (2018). Is Lyric an effective option for tinnitus? Investigating the benefits of a hearing aid that can be worn 24/7. Submitted for peer review publication.
* Individual patient needs may vary. Lyric is not appropriate for all patients. See a Lyric provider to determine if Lyric is right for you.
** Lyric is water resistant, not waterproof, and should not be completely submerged underwater.