What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a perception of sound in the ears or head which is not caused by an external sound source.
There may be a ringing or buzzing in one or both ears, or that appears to be in the head region but that is difficult to locate exactly.
It is a subjective noise, experienced by the sufferer alone i.e. no one else can hear it.
It is not an actual illness or disease although it may sometimes relate to a problem with the ear or hearing pathways; although it usually occurs when the inner ear is impaired or damaged in some way.
Damage or impairment to the inner ear and resulting tinnitus may result from:
- Exposure to loud noise
- Injury to the ears or head
- Ear infections
- Build up of wax in the inner ear
Although these are some of the most common causes there may be other contributing factors. Tinnitus may be a side-effect of medication, or caused by another health problem such as high blood pressure. It is also often a symptom of age and deteriorating hearing, but it can affect anyone at any age.
Tinnitus is experienced as a chronic problem by some 10% of people in the UK.
About 90% of cases occur together with an underlying hearing loss.
The World Health Organisation lists tinnitus as a distinct disorder, and states that noise exposure is a major contributor to hearing loss world wide.
Chronic or persistent tinnitus may create other debilitating symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia or some form of sleep disturbance.
The Treatment of Tinnitus
Although the condition may persist I help people to cope with the symptoms in two main ways. Often a major part of the problem is an increased focus on what could be considered perfectly normal and usual sounds which are a part of the experience of hearing. Since we can often develop a ‘fixed’ focus of attention on these sounds they start to register as noise and are intrusive and distracting. Part of the treatment plan therefore is to teach the client to manage their own perceptions and mental focus more effectively, and to distract attention away from the noise they are focused on.
The other part of the treatment plan is relaxation. Although it may be true in many cases that the individual has always had a tendency to be tense or anxious, tinnitus will definitely have aggravated this and increased tendency. Using hypnosis and meditation techniques to encourage relaxation in tandem with distraction from the fixed focus of attention can at the very least reduce, if not banish the symptoms of tinnitus altogether.
If you suffer from this uncomfortable and debilitating condition begin the process of taking control and make an appointment to see me today…