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Understanding Tinnitus: tips and resources for support

Tinnitus

Tinnitus, the perception of noise like ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the ears, affects 1 in 10 aduts in the UK. If you have ever experienced this phenomenon, you are not alone. Tinnitus can be unsettling and disruptive, but there are ways to manage and cope with it effectively.




What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is an awareness of sound in the ears or head that isn't from an external source. It manifests as various noises and affects about 10% of the UK adult population, with 5% finding it significantly impacts their quality of life.


The table below shows some of the sounds people with tinnitus hear:















How does this affect?

It affects people in different ways:

  • Inhability to concentrate

  • General anxiety (stress, depression, bad mood)

  • Sleep difficulties

Recognising symptoms and causes

It's crucial to be aware of the symptoms and potential causes that can contribute to its development:

  • Exposure to loud noise

  • Hearing loss

  • Aging

  • Medication side effects

  • Head injury

  • Earwax / Ear infections

  • Emotional stress

  • Habits like drinking alcohol, smoking, or consuming caffeine may exacerbate tinnitus symptoms.


Exploring solutions

Fortunately, there are various treatments and lifestyle adjustments that can help manage tinnitus:

  • Some hospital ear departments provide specialist tinnitus clinics that can offer a range of treatments. Biofeedback, relaxation training, counselling and individualised psychotherapy helps manage stress and helps you change your body's reaction to the tinnitus sounds. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) combines counselling with special background sounds designed to help people suppress the sounds of their tinnitus.

  • Special hearing aids, electronic masking devices or both are often used when other methods have failed to achieve control. Cochlear implants and cochlear stimulation devices are being investigated for severe, intractable tinnitus cases. Complementary treatments such as hypnosis, acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments can help reduce stress levels to help you cope with tinnitus.

  • Antidepressant medication can be helpful for people with tinnitus if they experience depression, and these may be prescribed and combined with counselling.


Lifestyle Changes

Making mindful lifestyle choices can also make a difference. There are several recommended strategies you can apply, such as:

  • Limiting caffeine and nicotine intake.

  • Avoiding high doses of aspirin.

  • Adopting a low-salt diet are recommended strategies.

  • Maintaining a positive outlook and reducing stress levels can positively impact tinnitus management.


Tinnitus Awareness Week

This week is Tinnitus Awareness Week (5th – 11th Feb 2024). This annual event is intended to generate discussions about tinnitus and raise awareness about tinnitus. Organisations like the British Tinnitus Association offer invaluable resources and support for those affected by this condition.


How You Can Help

If you are dealing with tinnitus or have found effective solutions, sharing your experiences can provide support and insight to others facing similar challenges. Whether it's through online platforms, support groups, or healthcare professionals, your voice matters.


Take Action

To learn more about tinnitus and access support resources, consider visiting websites like www.takeontinnitus.co.uk.

Additionally, supporting organizations like the British Tinnitus Association through donations can contribute to ongoing research and assistance efforts.





In conclusion, while tinnitus can be distressing, understanding its nature and available support options empowers individuals to effectively manage its impact on their lives.

By raising awareness, sharing experiences, and accessing resources, we can collectively work towards alleviating the burden of tinnitus for millions of people worldwide.

Video: Tinnitus (BSL version)




 
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