There is not usually a quick fix for tinnitus, but there are now many products and treatments available which can help to lessen the symptoms, and in some cases eradicate the issue entirely.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the term used for hearing sounds that are created by your body, rather than coming from an outside source. The most common description is of a ‘ringing in the ears’ but it can also take the form of buzzing, humming, grinding, hissing or whistling. Some people hear sounds similar to music and others hear noises that beat in time with their pulse (pulsatile tinnitus). Tinnitus often coincides with deterioration in your hearing, yet sometimes brings additional sensitivity to everyday sounds (hyperacusis).
What causes Tinnitus?
Many people experience short periods of tinnitus when they have been exposed to load noises such as after a music concert or night-club. Some people unfortunately suffer from tinnitus all or most of the time; in one or both ears. This can be caused by:
- Age-related hearing loss
- Inner ear damage caused by repeated exposure to loud noise
- An earwax build-up
- A middle ear infection
- Ménière’s disease – a condition which also causes vertigo
However one in three of people with tinnitus don’t have any other obvious problem with their ears.
Tinnitus can affect people of all ages but is more common in people over the age of 65.
Ways of treating Tinnitus
Sound therapy – listening to neutral sounds to distract you from the sound of tinnitus. This can include white noise therapy
Counselling – therapy that aims to educate you about tinnitus and help you learn to cope with it more effectively
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)– therapy that aims to help the way you think about your tinnitus so it becomes less noticeable
Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) – therapy that aims to help retrain the way your brain responds to tinnitus so you start to tune the sound out and become less aware of it
Diet – some studies show that reducing caffeine, salt intake and smoking can all help to alleviate tinnitus. Ginkgo Biloba is rumoured to be affective, but studies have not backed this up.
The Acoustic Coordinated Reset Neuromodulation device
Research is currently underway using a machine created by Professor Peter Tass from the Jülich research Institute near Cologne, Germany. The device is a neuromodulator which can be finely tuned to deliver sounds that match the frequency of the internal noises, essentially drowning them out. Some cases have pronounced great success, others less markedly so, but progress is being made.
What to do if you are suffering from work-related tinnitus
If you suffer from tinnitus and you believe that it was brought on by repeated exposure to loud noise during your employment, you should contact one of our solicitors who will be able to advise you on the next steps to take, and whether or not you are entitled to make a claim.