People with tinnitus hear sounds that originate in the ear itself. These sounds may include ringing, buzzing, whistling, roaring or hissing noises. They may pulse in time with the heartbeat or, more commonly, occur continuously and permanently
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus may have no apparent cause, but it’s commonly part of Meniere’s disease. People with anaemia, an overactive thyroid gland or head injuries may have tinnitus, and treatment with various drugs, such as aspirin and antibiotics, can also cause it.
If you develop tinnitus, particularly if it affects one ear only, you should consult your doctor straight away. When tinnitus is continuous and permanent it may lead to depression and anxiety disorders.
Measures of Tinnitus
After looking at your eardrum with an otoscope, your doctor may arrange for hearing
tests and a blood test for anaemia as well as CT (computerized tomography) scanning or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
Treatment of Tinnitus
- If an underlying cause, such as thyroid disease, is found and successfully treated, the tinnitus may improve.
- If tinnitus persists, your doctor may recommend a device called a masker. This device, worn in or behind the ear like a hearing aid, produces sounds that distract you from the tinnitus.
- If tinnitus accompanies hearing loss, a hearing aid may provide relief by increasing your awareness of background noise while masking the internal sounds.
- Many people with tinnitus find that background noise, such as playing music, reduces their awareness of the sounds in their ears.
- If tinnitus is very distressing or leads to depression or anxiety, counselling, self-help groups or relaxation exercises may help.