Tinnitus is the name given to noises that people hear in their ears or head. It can be either “objective” (has a physical cause, and may even be heard by others), or , more commonly, “subjective” ( a “phantom” sound which is created by the brain in response to, it is thought, a lack of an auditory signal reaching the brain – usually as a result of hearing loss or damage affecting the hearing of some frequencies).
The most common tinnitus sound that people report is similar to the noise of cicadas, or a hissing, or ringing in their ears. The majority of people who have tinnitus have some hearing loss. Some reports claim that up to 98% of people with tinnitus can derive relief through wearing hearing aids. It is thought that the sound stimulation made available again through hearing aids gives the brain enough to do so that it no longer produces the “phantom” sound. In other cases, hearing aids provide sufficient quiet, everyday sounds to make the tinnitus inaudible.
The mechanism of tinnitus is not yet fully understood; however, significant advances have been made, and a great deal of research is done every year to further understanding of this condition.
If you have tinnitus it is important to have a full hearing test to investigate possible causes, and to get advice about your tinnitus. Your NZiAud audiologist can also decide if you need to be referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist, or a specialist tinnitus clinic.
NZiAud Audiologists are often able to help many people reduce their level of tinnitus with a good hearing aid fitting and advice about everyday activities that can affect tinnitus.
For more information regarding Tinnitus visit:
New Zealand Tinnitus Association.
University of Auckland Tinnitus Clinic.
Visit an NZiAud clinic for honest, professional independent advice.