Tinnitus is probably causing that ringing or buzzing in your ear that doesn’t seem to go away. Maybe your doctor told you that tinnitus can’t be helped – that you’ll just have to deal with it?
If you’re experiencing a constant ringing or even humming or hissing sounds in your ears as you go about your daily life, you may have tinnitus.
Whilst it’s often temporary, it can become a long-term problem that can interfere with your concentration and hearing.
There’s nothing worse than well-meaning friends telling you to “try to ignore it” or “it’s something you’ll just have to deal with.” With 18% of Australians experiencing tinnitus at some point, it’s likely that you know someone who is suffering from this condition too.
While it’s true that there’s no cure for this condition, there are ways to alleviate the pain.
We're going to debunk 7 common misconceptions about tinnitus here.
MYTH 1: There is nothing that you can do about tinnitus
Many people go to their doctor with complaints about a buzzing or ringing in the ears and are told that they have to ‘just live with it.’ However, here are some proven ways to help decrease the uncomfortable sounds in your ears:
- Tinnitus Sound Therapy – Also known as acoustic therapy, this can help make the ringing or buzzing in your ears less noticeable. By amplifying background noise, it can help cover up some of the sound in your ears or even take your attention off the sound by distraction.
- Ear Protection – If you know you’ll be exposed to loud noises, such as attending a concert, you should be using hearing protection.
- Tinnitus Counseling – A combination of counseling and sound therapy with an experienced audiologist can often help lessen the effects of tinnitus.
- Relaxation exercises – Like other conditions, stress can often make tinnitus worse. Try to relieve the stress around you by going for a long walk, reading a book, or practicing breathing techniques.
- Zen tones in hearing aids – Zen tones that imitate the sounds of nature can provide you with temporary relief from the constant ringing in your ears. This is because it serves as a distraction from the sounds. For more information about Zen tones, look into the Widex Zen Tinnitus Management Program.
Here is an example of a Zen tone:
MYTH 2: Tinnitus is an imaginary disease that exists only in the mind of the sufferer
Just because there’s no test results that locate the presence of tinnitus or others can’t “see” it, doesn’t mean that it’s your imagination playing tricks on you. Millions of people around the world suffer from this condition, and it comes in different levels.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to suffer alone. Make your first step by booking an appointment to see a hearing specialist about your symptoms and ask what you can do to improve your quality of life.
MYTH 3: There is medication that can cure tinnitus
Some companies will try to sell you a miracle cure for the ringing in your ears in the form of a pill. While a lot of research has been conducted around the effects of medication and vitamin supplements for tinnitus, there is currently no proven cure for tinnitus: you can only manage it with counseling, sound therapy and relaxation techniques.
MYTH 4: Hearing aids won’t help with tinnitus
Hearing aids can be one of the most effective ways to manage tinnitus. Widex hearing aids are especially helpful for tinnitus sufferers for a number of reasons. Not only do they reduce the contrast between tinnitus and silence by providing maximum amplification in quiet environments, but they also limit the overall noise carried to the ear in louder environments.
Some hearing aids also come equipped with Widex Zen Therapy, which is a program that distracts the listener from tinnitus by playing soothing tones.
MYTH 5: Only people experiencing hearing loss will get tinnitus
Whilst those with hearing loss can get tinnitus, it is not always related. It’s possible to get tinnitus without having hearing loss. For example, there are some professions that are exposed to loud noises, such as explosions. In fact, even attending a rock concert can cause temporary tinnitus.
MYTH 6: I never listened to loud music, so I won’t get tinnitus
Loud noise exposure is just one cause of tinnitus. There are many more possible causes, including age, certain oral medications, ear infections, and in rare cases, a benign tumour of the auditory nerve. Just because you don’t listen to loud music, this doesn’t mean you are immune to tinnitus.
MYTH 7: Tinnitus is a new condition: people didn’t have it in the old days
A common misconception is that tinnitus is caused by loud music played from new musical technology such as MP3 players. Unfortunately, this simply isn't true. In fact, there were written recordings of references to tinnitus going as far back as Ancient Egypt! Even the legendary Ludwig Van Beethoven suffered from tinnitus!
What to do if you suffer from tinnitus
While Tinnitus is a condition that’s irritating at best and incapacitating at worst, the good news is it can be successfully managed. If you think you may be suffering from tinnitus, take our free online hearing test or book an appointment at a bloom™ hearing specialist near you and find out how to better manage it.