Do you think you have Tinnitus? Experiencing a constant noise in your ears? Let us try to help you!
Here’s some information about Tinnitus and what our qualified GPs can offer to you!
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the term for hearing sounds that come from inside your body, rather than from an outside source.
It’s often described as “ringing in the ears”, although several sounds can be heard, including:
Some people may hear sounds similar to music or singing, and others hear noises that beat in time with their pulse (pulsatile tinnitus).
You may also notice that your hearing is not as good as it used to be or you’re more sensitive to everyday sounds (hyperacusis).
Tinnitus is a common symptom experienced by 10-15% of the population with about 8% of the population seeking advice from their GP. Although most people who experience tinnitus are not unduly bothered by it, for some it may have a marked effect on their life.
Tinnitus can develop gradually over time or occur suddenly. It’s not clear exactly why it happens, but it often occurs along with some degree of hearing loss.
Tinnitus is often associated with:
- Age-related hearing loss
- Inner ear damage caused by repeated exposure to loud noises
- An earwax build-up
- A middle ear infection
- Ménière’s disease – a condition that also causes hearing loss and vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Otosclerosis – an inherited condition where an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear causes hearing loss
However, around one in every three people with tinnitus doesn’t have any obvious problem with their ears or hearing.
There’s currently no single treatment for tinnitus that works for everyone. However, research to find an effective treatment is continuing.
If an underlying cause of your tinnitus can be found, effectively treating it may help improve your tinnitus – for example, removing a build-up of earwax might help.
If a specific cause can’t be found, treatment will focus on helping you manage the condition on a daily basis. This may involve:
- Sound therapy – listening to neutral sounds to distract you from the sound of tinnitus
- Counselling – therapy that aims to educate you about tinnitus and help you learn to cope with it more effectively
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
Seeing a GP
You should see your GP if you continually or regularly hear sounds such as buzzing, ringing or humming in your ears.
They can examine your ears to see if the problem might be caused by a condition they could easily treat, such as an ear infection or earwax build-up.
They can also do some simple checks to see if you have any hearing loss.
If necessary, your GP can refer you to a hospital specialist for further tests and treatment.
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