The Art of Hearing

Guide: Tinnitus

Are you or a loved one experiencing ‘ringing in the ears? It could be tinnitus, a condition that affects nearly 2 million Australians.

What’s tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the name used to describe a noise, often referred to as ‘ringing’, perceived in your head or in one or both ears. It can occur suddenly, or it can gradually build up over time. It could be a symptom of an underlying health issue, and not a condition in itself.

The sound perceived can be different from person to person. Some patients describe it as ringing in the ears. Others experience a hiss, whistle, buzz, click, hum, roar, screech or shriek. It can also be a combination of noises and/or pitches.

If you are experiencing tinnitus, you may have noticed that the noise can be steady or pulsating “like a heartbeat”. It might also be consistent or intermittent – with attacks experienced in varying lengths and intensities.

The impact

Tinnitus can be temporary or ongoing. If you’ve had symptoms for more than six months, it’s likely to be permanent.

While it doesn’t cause hearing loss, its impact can be significant. While in most people, it is just a mild distraction, millions of people suffer from severe tinnitus that negatively affects their lives.Tinnitus can affect your:

  • overall health
  • quality of life
  • ability to operate at home
  • social well-being and relationships
  • ability to keep working

People with mild to severe tinnitus might also commonly experience pain, depression, anxiety, frustration, distress, mood swings, sleep disturbances and poor concentration.
If you think you, or a loved one, might be experiencing tinnitus, it’s important it’s assessed and treated before it has the opportunity to have a significant impact on well being. The next step is simple—book a consultation with an audiologist to find out what’s causing your symptoms.
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