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If you suddenly hear whistling, whooshing, or buzzing in your ear, the first step is to stay calm. While tinnitus is unpleasant, it’s not a symptom of a serious illness. The good news is that tinnitus that suddenly occurs usually disappears on its own quite quickly. But what should you do if the whistling or whooshing noises in your ear just won’t go away? The most important thing is to obtain a precise diagnosis of the causes of the sound in the ear. There are various treatment options, depending on the situation.

"Triton Hearing has given me a new lease on life. Having being diagnosed with tinnitus about 2 years ago, I have now been fitted with hearing aids which have helped me cope with my tinnitus. "

Noise in the ear: What's next?

Occasionally hearing sounds such as buzzing or whistling in the ear can happen. If the noise in your ear lasts longer than 24 hours, you should seek the advice of a Triton Hearing expert.  We have summarised the most important information on treatment below.

For those affected by chronic tinnitus (symptoms persist for longer than twelve months), the situation is somewhat different and a full recovery is usually not possible, but there are treatment options.

You can find general information on the causes of tinnitus here.

What will happen when I visit an audiologist?

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.

At Triton Hearing, our audiologists will initially try to assess the level of psychological strain caused by the tinnitus.  You should be prepared to answer the following questions:
  • Do you have any pre-existing conditions?
  • Do you take any medication?
  • When did the noise in your ear first start? Is there anything that may have caused it?
  • Did the tinnitus begin suddenly or has it developed gradually?
  • What does the tinnitus sound like?
  • Was there a potential trigger, such as acoustic trauma, continuous noise, or an unusually stressful situation?
Our audiologist will then carry out various auditory tests, including a hearing test and a balance test. Then it'll be determined whether you also have hearing loss or a disorder of the auditory system.

Lastly, the actual tinnitus analysis is carried out, in which the volume and pitch of the noise in your ear is determined. By doing this, the audiologist can find out which frequencies the noise covers, and how it can be treated.

What types of tinnitus treatment are there?

Tinnitus retraining therapy
The most common and successful method used is what is known as tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). The aim of this is for the client to get to know their chronic tinnitus well enough that they are able to suppress their perception of it over time. Through TRT therapy, the brain gradually learns to get used to the tinnitus and no longer perceives the noise to be so dominant. This can greatly reduce the psychological strain on the client. Tinnitus retraining therapy is ideally suited to people with slight or chronic noise in the ear. The main prerequisite for successful tinnitus retraining therapy is consistent and active cooperation from the patient. This is also the case for cognitive behavioral therapy. As part of this therapy, with the help of a psychotherapist, the person affected tries to change their perception of the noises so that they become less intrusive.

Some of those affected by chronic tinnitus have also had good experiences with alternative approaches, such as Chinese medicine. It is advisable to talk to other people affected by tinnitus, for example in a self-help group found through the American Tinnitus Association.
 

The three cornerstones of tinnitus retraining therapy

Number  1: Education and advice. Anyone who has the right information and knows the topic well will find the noises in their ear less threatening.
Number  2: Sound therapy By concentrating on pleasant sounds (fountains, the sounds of nature, music, etc.), the negative noise in the ear will be suppressed into the background.
Number  3: Increasing psychological and physical wellbeing. There are various, highly individual approaches to this, from behavioral therapy and counseling through to yoga and tai chi.
Hearing aids and noisers
In addition to retraining therapy, your audiologist can also recommend a hearing aid with a tinnitus noiser. Hearing aids of this kind work in two ways: They compensate for the hearing loss so that the patient can better perceive external sounds again, and they distract the patient from the annoying whistling or buzzing using pleasant, positively perceived sounds. The fact is, around 80 percent of those affected by tinnitus are also experiencing hearing loss at the same time. The tinnitus often has exactly the frequency that the patient perceives most poorly.
Medication
Sudden tinnitus (up to three months) may be treated  by your GP with cortisone or medication that stimulates circulation. In many cases, it is possible to recover from sudden tinnitus. 

For tinnitus persisting longer than three months there's no recovery unfortunately however, there are effective treatment approaches that will help you cope better with chronic tinnitus. For a personal hearing assessment and advice to help you, book a free consultation with an experienced Triton Hearing expert by calling 0800 45 45 43. 

Tips for dealing with tinnitus

  • Reduce stress and find a relaxation technique that suits you (autogenic training, yoga, tai chi, etc.).
  • Stop smoking, as nicotine promotes tinnitus.
  • Watch what you eat. And also, alcohol should only be consumed in moderation.
  • Lead an active lifestyle and exercise. Physical activity helps to reduce stress and distracts you from the noises in your ear.
  • Get enough sleep. Well-rested people perceive chronic tinnitus less intensely.
  • Choose activities that you enjoy. This distracts you from the noises in your ear.
  • Always wear hearing protection when you are exposed to noise or loud music.

How can tinnitus be prevented?

Tips for preventing chronic and sudden noises in the ear:
  • Avoid the causes and protect your ears: Avoid excessive noise. Protect your ears if you can’t avoid certain sources of noise at your workplace or in your free time. Use earplugs or special headphones.
  • Avoid excessive stress:  this is because stress promotes the development of unpleasant noises in the ear. It’s better to take things down a gear than to completely break down one day.
  • Don’t hesitate! Go straight to your doctor at the first signs of tinnitus or when it’s acute, because the earlier you seek advice from an ENT doctor or an audiologist when you first hear noises in your ear and are treated with a suitable therapy, the better your chances of recovery.
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What is tinnitus?
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