What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and/or the ears which has no external source. It is not a disease or illness; it is a symptom generated within the auditory system. The noise is usually described as a buzzing, whistling, humming or ringing, which can vary in pitch, and may be a single noise or two or more components. For some people the noise is continuous, or it may come and go, the volume can also vary over time. Tinnitus is often thought to be associated with older people, but the truth is that 1 in 10 people hear it all the time, young or old. At present there is no cure, however studies do suggest that it diminishes over time, as the brain becomes accustomed to hearing it.

What Causes It?

Hearing loss – the delicate hair cells in the inner ear may reduce in number due to ‘wear and tear’ as people age. This gradual change can cause hearing loss, which makes tinnitus more noticeable as it is not masked by external sound.

Exposure to loud noise – hair cells can also be damaged by exposure to loud noise, which could generate tinnitus.

Stress and anxiety – it is not always clear whether stress causes the onset of tinnitus. However it may be more noticeable if you are anxious or stressed.

Ear infections – middle ear infections can cause hearing loss and tinnitus. Symptoms will normally be temporary, but it is important to have the underlying infection treated by a GP.

Tinnitus awareness Week 2013

Tinnitus Awareness Week 2013 will run from 4-10 February and the theme is ‘The Importance of Tinnitus Support Groups’.

British Tinnitus Association LogoTinnitus Awareness Week is run by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA). The BTA was founded over 30 years ago by people with tinnitus and is the only national charity in the UK devoted to tinnitus. Support groups offer a vital lifeline for people around the country, offering a chance to share experiences, find out how others cope and discuss the latest information on treatments. Hundreds of people are already benefiting from belonging to a tinnitus support group but the BTA hope to enable hundreds more people to access peer-to-peer support through groups across the UK.

Want to get more involved? – http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/help