My Personal Experience With Tinnitus
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease of an illness. Basically, tinnitus is a constant ringing sound in one or both of the ears. The sounds people get vary from person to person. But it can be extremely disturbing for those that suffer with it. Tinnitus comes in various forms. Some people have it on a temporary basis, for instance, if the ears are blocked with wax or during a cold. But in some cases, as in myself, it is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some people may also temporarily have tinnitus after going to noisy concerts and events.
Technically speaking, when sound enters the ear, the hearing nerves take the signal to the brain. The brain then processes all of these sounds out. But if a person suffers with an ear infection or hearing loss, this can change the way the brain processes that information. So really, the tinnitus comes from the brain, and not the actual ear itself.
Tinnitus can affect almost anyone. Although more common in people over the age of 65, anyone can experience this, even if it's temporary. A build up of ear wax or being in a noisy environment can cause temporary tinnitus. Ear infections can also cause this.
A diagram of how sound enters the ear.
My experience with Tinnitus
I've suffered with tinnitus for about 10 years. When I first got it in my right ear, which resulted in hearing loss, I was constantly going dizzy, feeling hideously nauseous at times, and gong to lie down until it cleared. When I finally went to see my Doctor about it, they referred me to the Audiology Dept at my hospital where I had a thorough hearing test. I explained I had tinnitus. The result came back, as I already knew, that I have significant hearing loss in my right ear. So they suggested I wear a hearing aid to help. A few weeks later when I got my aid, it was amazing when I first put the aid in my ear and could hear so much more. Now I wear my hearing aid all the time and my dizziness has all but stopped. I do sometimes get spells though.
Wearing the hearing aid has helped tremendously. Not only has it all but stopped the dizzy spells, I am able to once again hear the birds sing and all the little sounds around me. The tinnitus will never go away, but I do feel this certainly helps dispel the noise slightly. There are the rare occasions I go dizzy, but not on a regular basis like before. On a personal level, my tinnitus is quite loud. This happens more so when there is no noise our sound around me, like the television, general noise from when I'm out or the computer. With the help of the hearing aid, this does tend to dull the noise a bit, which helps considerably.
A commonly used hearing aid
What can be done to help?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus. There are, however, ways to help alleviate the problem. As you can see from the video, there is sound therapy videos available. There are various forms of sound therapy to help din the sound of the tinnitus in your ears. But there are a number of other options available if tinnitus is affecting your life. There is sleep therapy and relaxation therapy. I have seen interviews with people in the past where they've said that tinnitus prevents them from falling asleep and they become anxious. The link provided gives tips and advice on help that can be provided.
The other option is to get a hearing aid, as I mentioned above. This has definitely helped me. Of course, the tinnitus is still there, but it does help dull the noise slightly. There are many ways to help combat tinnitus. Of course, people have various forms of this with different noises and sounds they get in their ears. There are also self help methods to help, such as listening to music and joining support groups if it greatly affects you.
Tinnitus can be annoying on any level - whether it's temporary or permanent. Those who have it on a permanent basis can struggle to cope with it and have difficulty in learning how to manage it. Although there is no cure for it, there are many aids out there that can help. Although the sounds people experience can differ, it can still be an annoyance. But, in my own personal experience, a hearing aid has definitely helped me. Yes, the noise can be louder when there is no noise around you, but it is certainly manageable.
The best thing to do if you suffer from this is go and see you Doctor, who will help you combat this in the correct way and will offer help and support. Suffering with tinnitus can be debilitating, but with the right help and support, it can be easily manageable.
The parts of the ear
Treatments for Tinnitus
- Tinnitus - Treatment - NHS Choices
Read about the main treatments for tinnitus, including sound therapy, counselling and self-help tips.