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Updated on February 12, 2010

What is Tinnitus?

If you suffer from Tinnitus you’re in good company, there have been many famous sufferers from Tinnitus including Beethoven, Schumann, sting, Sylvester Stallone and Ronald Reagan. It’s thought that there are as many as 50 million Sufferers in America alone.

Though the sounds described by sufferers can vary widely from buzzing, whistling, whooshing, gushing, or a roaring sound like waves. And it can be heard in either ear, or both, or it can be difficult to say where the sound seems to be coming from. With some sufferers it’s just somewhere in their head. This is known as somatic tinnitus it’s a very individual experience which each person will describe differently and they will react to it differently. It may be continuous in nature or very intermittent. Likewise it can be temporary or permanent. Mine is a high pitched whistling sound. Some people with the condition may find that they are more sensitive to other, everyday sounds. For instance normally acceptable volume levels on the TV may be quite painful for them. Whatever the symptoms it can seriously interfere with quality of life. But for those unfortunate enough to suffer long term it can be very distressing and even lead to depression.

Inner Ear
Inner Ear

It's not just a hearing thing.

Did you realise that everyone who suffers from tinnitus has some hearing loss, but not everyone with hearing loss has tinnitus. That’s because the condition is caused by other contributing factors not just loss of hearing. Essentially these contributing factors are associated with your lifestyle. That’s not lifestyle as in whether or not you’re a football fan or an opera lover. Or that you smoke or drink too much, it’s more to do with things like your diet. Even your toothpaste. Additives can be contributing factors. There are numerous things which can aggravate the condition.

Tinnitus Treatments

Some treatments for tinnitus are basically coping mechanisms. This is sometimes known as TRT or Tinnitus Retraining therapy; essentially you learn to cope with the condition, through counselling and possibly the use of noise generators to cancel out the sounds tinnitus creates in your ears. These noise generators can be like hearing aids or they may sit on a table or desk.
Some sufferers resort to leaving the TV on all night to try and get good nights sleep. There are even special pillows available with built in speakers. If that was the best you could hope for it would be pretty devastating wouldn’t it. You want to do better than cope with something which causes so much disruption to your normal life.

Can You Cure Tinnitus?

Unfortunately if you find yourself suffering from Tinnitus you may not find your doctor very helpful. Many in the medical profession think that there is no cure for tinnitus.
Fortunately that's not true, find out how you can cure Tinnitus for good at Tinnitus Banished


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    Curtis Trujillo 6 years ago

    Great description. Loss of Hearing is sometimes a scary experience as so many of the elderly experience dimished hearing everyday. Thanks for your hard work.

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    Marc Woodard 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

    Great hub and informative on Tinnitus and hearing loss. I'm now following you.