What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be heard as a buzzing, whistling, throbbing, hissing, roaring, cicada-like noise or ringing in your ears. It can be present all the time or only occasionally, and can vary in intensity. Tinnitus can develop gradually or suddenly. Most people experience occasional tinnitus, especially in quiet surroundings.

Persistent tinnitus (constant noise in the ears) affects up to 15% of people aged over 55 with 4% of New Zealanders suffering from tinnitus that severely impacts on their lives.

People with tinnitus often find that they can no longer tolerate moderate to loud sounds, or they find everyday sounds increasingly annoying. This is known as decreased sound tolerance. More severe cases are known as hyperacusis

What causes tinnitus?

A common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss, although there are many factors that can lead to tinnitus.

Our hearing (or auditory) system is constantly listening; even quietness has a sound. For tinnitus sufferers with hearing loss, the sounds they are missing create an absence of noise which the brain tries to correct with the tinnitus sound.

Think of a radio that is not quite tuned correctly. To hear better you turn the volume up, but this increases the level of the background static at the same time.

Treating tinnitus?

Tinnitus cannot be cured, but it can be successfully controlled and treated in around 80% of cases.

The aim of tinnitus treatment is to reduce the person’s awareness of their tinnitus and, when they hear it, to reduce the anxiety or distress they feel. This is called ‘habituation’.

Just as someone living next to a railway track will tune out of the sound of passing trains, so the brain can be trained to tune out tinnitus.

You do not have to put up with ringing in the ears or ‘just learn to live with tinnitus’. Triton Hearing offers products and advice to help you manage the symptoms of tinnitus and support your habituation. We can also point you to other tinnitus support include counselling and therapy programmes as well as biofeedback relaxation techniques, information on diet, stress relief and medication.

For a personal hearing assessment and advice to help you, book a free consultation with an experienced Triton Hearing Expert calling 0800 45 45 44. 

They can also send you out a free copy of The Consumer's Guide Tinnitus Relief 2017, with independent information and advice about Tinnitus.