World Tinnitus Week runs from February 4th to 10th and this year the theme is ‘Tinnitus and Isolation’. To mark this global event, the British Tinnitus Association is involved in a week of events and campaigning with the aim of helping those who are struggling with this often-debilitating condition and raising general awareness on the issue of tinnitus.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the name used to describe the sensation of hearing a ringing, whooshing, buzzing, humming or ringing sound in the ear. At The Hearing Centre we see many patients from the Leicester area who are suffering from tinnitus. Tinnitus is in fact an extremely common condition with around 30% of people experiencing symptoms at some point in their lives, with 10% suffering from persistent tinnitus. Tinnitus is more common in people with existing hearing or ear problems but it can also affect those with normal hearing, including children.
What does tinnitus feel like?
As well as the nature of the noise varying, the intensity can differ hugely too. The sound can feel as if it’s in one ear, both ears or inside the head. In some cases sufferers can find it difficult to pinpoint the source of the noise and it’s common for people to look for the noise as an external source before realising it’s emanating from their own body. A less common form of tinnitus is musical tinnitus (also known as musical hallucination) where the tinnitus takes on the form of a familiar piece of music.
Why is tinnitus isolating?
For many people with mild or temporary tinnitus, the symptoms do not affect their day-to-day life unduly. However when tinnitus is severe or long-term, the constant noise can be extremely draining and have a negative effect on mental health. This is especially true when people find that their tinnitus affects their ability to do their job or socialise. Also, as tinnitus can often be more noticeable at quiet times, it’s very common for sufferers to struggle to get to sleep, which of course has a further negative impact on their overall health.
Also, as tinnitus is an invisible disease, those coping with it often struggle to communicate to others how tinnitus feels and how it is affecting their quality of life. In order to try and alleviate this issue, this week the British Tinnitus Association is running events including:
- Opening their helpline overnight for one night to support those struggling to sleep.
- Broadcasting a podcast tackling the effect that tinnitus can have on relationships.
- Sharing tips from people with tinnitus on how to cope with social situations.
- Highlighting the tinnitus support groups available across the UK.
- Providing free digital images to raise awareness of tinnitus across social media.
Improving quality of life with tinnitus
If you are suffering from tinnitus, it’s important to make an appointment for a hearing assessment. This is because if your tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying hearing problem, being fitted with the correct hearing aid can make the symptoms disappear. For those living with tinnitus, the symptoms can be helped in the following ways:
- Talking about tinnitus so those around you have some idea of the challenges you are facing.
- Getting support from other sufferers
- Trying techniques like mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling or sound therapy to cope with the physical and mental effects of tinnitus.
Expert audiologists in Leicester
If you are suffering from tinnitus, contact the Hearing Centre today on 0116 254 3909 or fill in our online contact form to see how we can help.