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Tinnitus Support and Therapy

At Leighton Hospital we are proud to offer a specialised tinnitus counselling service. The information provided below has come from the British Tinnitus Association website (BTA, 2013).

 

What is tinnitus?

The word 'tinnitus' comes from the Latin word for 'ringing' and is the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound. This noise may be heard in one ear, in both ears or in the middle of the head or it may be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. The noise may be low, medium or high pitched. There may be a single noise or two or more components. The noise may be continuous or it may come and go. The sound of tinnitus is individual to each person and can often be very hard to describe or classify.

 

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease or an illness, it is a symptom generated within a person's own auditory pathways. Although it is often assumed that tinnitus occurs as a result of disease of the ears, this is often not the case. The precise cause of tinnitus is still not fully understood.

 

Who gets tinnitus?

Experiences of tinnitus are very common in all age groups, especially following exposure to loud noise; however, it is unusual for it to be a major problem. There is a widely held misconception that tinnitus is confined to the elderly, but various studies have shown that it can occur at any age, even in quite young children. Mild tinnitus is common - about 10 per cent of the population have it all the time and, in up to one per cent of adults, this may affect the quality of their life

 

Is there a cure?

Unfortunately because scientists have yet to identify the underlying cause of tinnitus there is no medicinal cure available to date. Current practice is to try to assist patient in identifying ways to cope with their tinnitus so it has less of an impact on their lives.

 

What to do if you have tinnitus

Tinnitus is rarely an indication of a serious disorder, but it is wise to see your doctor if you think you might have it. You may be referred to a specialist to rule out any pathology - alternatively your doctor can refer you to us for therapy to help you deal with your tinnitus.

Many people say they notice tinnitus less when they are doing something. Keeping your mind occupied helps (but don't overdo things). If the noises seem louder at quiet times, particularly during the night, it may help to have soothing music or some other environmental or natural sound quietly on in the background.

Practising relaxation and taking time out for yourself can also be a great help.

 

Try not to worry

The noises may seem worse if you are anxious or stressed. When tinnitus starts, particularly if it's sudden, you may naturally be frightened and your concentration or your sleep may be disturbed. You may get angry and frustrated because no-one else understands, or you may live alone and not have anyone to talk to about it.

 

Find out more

You will probably feel better when you find out more about the condition - that it's very common and you're not alone. There is lots of information on the British Tinnitus Associations website for you to explore, written by experts in the field (www.tinnitus.org) .

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