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Tinnitus is the perception of sound within your ears, or head, that isn’t caused by any external source. There are two main types; Subjective Tinnitus where sounds can only be heard by the sufferer, and Objective Tinnitus where the sound can be heard by the sufferer and a doctor when he or she listens through a stethoscope placed near the ear. This type is significantly less common but is frequently caused by a physical problem in or near the ear; such as narrowing of blood vessels.

Symptoms of Tinnitus

The most common symptom of tinnitus is a high-pitched whistling, ringing, buzzing, hissing or humming sound that will not go away. Sometimes the noise is constant, whereas other times it will come and go; seemingly with no rhyme nor reason. In some cases people may experience tinnitus in the form of music, songs or musical phrases; this is called musical hallucinations and can sometimes be related to a psychological condition.

Diagnosis

If you suffer from any of the symptoms of tinnitus you should contact your doctor. They will ask you about the symptoms, and may examine your head, neck and even torso, as this could help in identifying the cause. It is likely that they will look into your ears using a device called an auriscope. You may be referred to a specialist with an interest in hearing and balance such as an audio-vestibular physician or an ear, nose and throat surgeon, or if appropriate a dentist.

Treatment

There are not any medicines which have been shown to effectively treat tinnitus, but that does not mean that it cannot be treated. There are medicines available that can treat the underlying cause; such as an ear infection, but in most cases the effects of tinnitus can be minimised by making changes to your lifestyle. Relaxation has been shown to be very important in reducing symptoms, along with reducing exposure to any loud noises.

What if your tinnitus was caused by your employment?

If you suffer from tinnitus and you believe that it is as a direct result of your employment; current or previous, you should contact one of our solicitors. Employers have a duty to minimise the risk of any employee developing tinnitus, or any other hearing issue, and if you have been exposed to loud or constant noise, it could be their fault that you have developed the condition. Our solicitors are highly experienced in this field and will be able to swiftly identify whether or not you have a claim.

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