Tinnitus Awareness Week 2023 – What your audiologist wants you to know

Author thumbnail Stephanie Hedicker  |  Published 06 February 2023  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 3 mins read

Tinnitus Awareness Banner.

Most people have heard of tinnitus, that sometimes annoying buzzing or ringing you can get inside your head without any external source. But what exactly is it and why do we get it? 

Well, this Tinnitus Week we’ve been speaking to one of our audiologists and tinnitus specialist, Stephanie Hedicker, with some questions you’d like answered.

A man using a jackhammer on the floor.

What causes tinnitus?

We know that tinnitus can be caused by a number of factors. From external triggers such as stress and exposure to loud music or sounds such as machinery, to internal causes such as ear wax build-up, an ear infection, head or neck trauma, dental issues, other health conditions and hearing loss. Often knowing the particular trigger can be a great start in managing the condition. 

Whilst the exact cause for the condition isn’t known yet, it is widely agreed that tinnitus arises from a physical or mental change within the body. Therefore, the management of the tinnitus should be approached from both perspectives.

Will having tinnitus result in a hearing loss?

Tinnitus and hearing loss are separate conditions often seen together, but whilst they are often connected, they are not catalysts for one other. Tinnitus can occur in both people with normal hearing and those with a hearing loss.  As tinnitus is unique to everyone in its presentation and duration, specialised treatment and management can be required. This can include hearing aids, maskers sound enrichment, relaxation or mindfulness exercises or C.B.T.

Image of an alarm clock.

Is tinnitus always a ringing sound?

The definition of tinnitus is a perception of sound where there is no external sound source. Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant, with single or multiple tones, and its perceived volume can range from subtle to very loud.  Therefore, as it is a perception of a sound by the individual, that sound can manifest as a multitude of different sounds such as rushing, thumping, high pitched tone, buzzing, humming, voices, music.

Will hearing aids help with tinnitus?

A popular theory on the cause of tinnitus is that if a person cannot hear a particular sound very well (because of their hearing loss), then the brain creates a sound for them to hear (tinnitus). Therefore, by wearing hearing aids and being able to hear the rest of the world better, people become less aware of their tinnitus. Whilst this is not a cure, it is one of the few things we as audiologists can recommend to help.

A woman sitting on the grass and doing meditation.

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

It should be remembered that tinnitus is not a disease and there is currently no definitive proven cure. However, in many cases tinnitus can be managed by treating the underlying causes (ear infection, wax build up, cold, hearing loss) or by retraining the way we respond to it (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, sound enrichment, mindfulness exercises). The success of all treatment outcomes is dependent on the individual, the onset and duration of their tinnitus and contributing health factors.

Come and speak to us

If you are experiencing symptoms of tinnitus and don’t know where to start, our fully qualified audiologists are able to guide you to the right support and solutions as part of a tinnitus consultation, so you can get back to living life to the full once again. 

Book today at your nearest practice or call our Dedicated Patient Support team on 0800 52 00 546.