What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the medical term for a noise which is heard in the head or ears, that does not come from an outside source. It’s often described as a ‘ringing in the ears’, but it can be experienced in other ways, like a buzzing or hissing sound, waves or even cicadas. It can be faint or loud, occasional or constant, steady or pulsing, and range from not bothersome to very annoying. It’s more noticeable at night or when it’s quiet, and can be more of a problem when you are tired or stressed.

How Common is Tinnitus?

Don't feel like you're alone. Tinnitus is very common. About 20% of us have it to some extent.

What causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be caused by:

  • Exposure to excessive loud noise
  • Extreme stress or trauma
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Some prescription and non-prescription medication
  • A change to the health or condition of your ear

Treatment for Tinnitus

While in many cases there is no ‘magical cure’ for tinnitus, there are a number of very effective options to manage the condition and your body’s response to it. As treatment plans are specific to individual needs, we’ll ask you some screening questions to find the best options for your lifestyle needs. We will conduct a full diagnostic consultation. If other tests are required, we may refer you to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. Treatment options to reduce tinnitus are:

  • Correctly fitted hearing aids of good quality. Hearing aids can help your tinnitus as it assists in overcoming any underlying hearing loss. By reducing the amount of attention your brain is paying to the tinnitus, hearing aids can give you some relief and for some people can eliminate it all together.
  • Sound therapy in conjunction with hearing aids. Sound therapy is designed to assist the hearing centres of the brain in ‘tuning out’ the tinnitus. If you have a hearing loss, sound therapy will work best in conjunction with hearing aids. Sound therapy uses external sounds, such as music or a static-like noise, to partially obscure the tinnitus signal. Over time, the brain is able to automatically tune out the sound of the tinnitus.
  • Playing music or nature sounds while trying to sleep or when in quiet environments
  • Using volume-limiting headphones when listening to personal music devices.