Tinnitus is a common condition affecting up to 10 per cent of the UK population. Tinnitus is a condition that affects the individual and means that noises or sounds are heard in one or both ears without a corresponding external noise being responsible. Tinnitus is most commonly described as a ringing/noise in the ears, it can be continuous but some experience the sound in waves. It is often caused by damage to the auditory system which can be from noise exposure as well as the natural aging process, but its origin is often unknown.
It has been well documented that stress, anxiety and depression can affect the severity of the individuals symptoms. It is recommended that the best approach to managing tinnitus comes from a comprehensive tinnitus treatment that includes counselling and/or hypnotherapy, to help in managing the stress, anxiety and depression that can be caused be those affected by tinnitus and the impact on their lives and families. Whilst also using a selection of sound therapy tools and receiving the appropriate advice, support and equipment from a trained audiologist.
Individuals with tinnitus can also experience hearing loss and sometimes the sound of the tinnitus interferes with the individuals ability to hear other sounds. This can sometimes be explained by how the brain is perceiving the sound and how anxious the individual is around the tinnitus as the brain will begin to search for the sound and experience the level of the noise as louder at different times.
It can interfere with sleep as going into a quiet environment like a bedroom can cause the brain to elevate the noise. It loses the distraction of other sounds it had encountered during the day. Individuals experience a lack of sleep due to finding it difficult to drift off into the relaxed state. The focus becomes the sound/noise they are encountering, alongside the anxiety that the they will wake up with the tinnitus in the morning. This loss of a regular sleep pattern can cause difficulties the following days, as concentration, motivation and the ability to focus becomes more difficult. This can again cause stress and anxiety in the individuals personal and professional life, and promote the brain to focus on the noise/sound more, so the individuals perception is that the tinnitus cycle is louder and longer.
You may not be able to change how you experience the tinnitus but you can change how you perceive and manage the cycles of noise/sound. By receiving the appropriate audiology care and advice from a trained audiologist, by receiving appropriate support from a trained and experienced counsellor or hypnotherapist will enable you to feel more in control and empowered with equipment, information and techniques that can help manage the tinnitus in a way that’s right for you.
It is important that you seek advice and guidance from a qualified and trained audiologist for any hearing difficulties you maybe experiencing as soon as you or those around you begin to notice a change in you hearing. They can assess your hearing and recommend appropriate treatment and equipment if needed alongside recommending therapies like counselling and hypnotherapy.
Tinnitus can impact your life, but you can manage it with the right help and support, enabling you to live your life in a positive way and maintain the lifestyle you want. Tinnitus is not always permanent and not always for life, the condition is known to vary and the brain is excellent at adapting our way of thinking to enable us to cope in a more positive way leading to an overall decline in what the individual is perceiving as noises/sounds.
About the author
I work closely with a trained audiologist, providing a complete and holistic approach to those experiencing Tinnitus. I attend the British Tinnitus Association conferences and information days and I also help to run a local Tinnitus support group in Plymouth.
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James BrannanNovember 29th, 2016