IS TINNITUS A GHOST SOUND ?
Did you know that 10% of the population suffer from tinnitus?
In the majority of cases, tinnitus is due to dysfunction of the auditory system or damage to its nerve fibers. The main risk factors are age-related hearing loss, exposure to noise and sound trauma.
More specifically, tinnitus is associated with hearing loss in around 80% of cases.
What exactly is tinnitus?
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a sound that does not come from outside the ear and is not heard by other people. It can be permanent or only occasional, and can be heard in one ear or both.
The sound may resemble bells ringing, bees buzzing, the sound of waves or pulsing, or it may sound like ringing, whistling, whooshing, creaking or even rumbling.
You may be at risk for tinnitus if:
- You are over 60.
- You work in a very loud environment(e.g. construction worker, musician).
- You hunt, shootor attend rock concerts.
- You have vascular problems.
- You have health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, high uric acid, or oestro-progestagen or thyroid disorders.
- You are taking medications or antibiotics that are harmful to the ears.
- You suffer from stress, anxiety or depression.
- Consuming large amounts of caffeine, alcohol, drugs or spicy foods may also cause tinnitus.
What causes this?
Unfortunately, the exact causes of tinnitus are still not fully understood. We know that it is not an illness, but rather a disturbing symptom.
How to manage and control the discomfort of tinnitus
- One way to lessen the annoyance of tinnitus is through sound or camouflage therapy, which fills the environment with a different sound, such as music or a fan, to reduce the contrast between silence and the sound caused by tinnitus.
- Practice relaxation techniques (e.g. think positively, breathe deeply, visualize).
- Consult and audiologist who will monitor you and show you how to do various techniques.
If you also have a hearing loss and wear hearing aids, you can use applications on your hearing aids to camouflage your tinnitus.
These applications provide different relaxing sounds or music to add a comfortable background noise to your environment, with the aim of camouflaging your tinnitus. So you don’t have to think about it!
BY Marilène Roy, Audiologist, Polyclinique de l’Oreille