Expert advice on tinnitus
Many of us have experienced ringing in our ear’s after seeing our favourite live bands, but for some people that constant ringing or buzzing sound never disappears.
Advice from an expert
Specsavers audiologist and head of professional advancement, Nick Taylor, offers his advice on the best way to manage the condition, which affects 10% of UK adults*
Nick said: ‘Tinnitus is an extremely common problem, although the exact cause of it is still unknown. It is a symptom – rather than a disorder or disease – that affects a person’s nerve pathway between the ear and the brain, and the type of noise heard varies from person to person.
‘Although wearing hearing aids cannot cure tinnitus, it is widely known that those experiencing hearing loss and tinnitus often see a real benefit from them. The aids stimulates the brain to engage and focus on surrounding sounds, and ultimately distracts it from the tinnitus, so we see a lot of customers with hearing loss who say their tinnitus has either reduced or even disappeared completely in some cases, as a result of wearing a hearing aid.
‘Our fully qualified audiologists can offer advice on tinnitus, or for more severe cases, can make a referral to a medical specialist.’
For those suffering from tinnitus, or those who think they may know someone who does, these top tips can help provide a little resolve:
Learn to relax
Worrying about tinnitus causes tension which can worsen the condition. Therefore, learning to relax is an important part of the relief process. There are a number of simple relaxation exercises that you can learn from books, CDs or classes, which will help relax your mind and body. Some people find that aromatherapy, improved posture, massage, reflexology, craniofacial therapy, yoga, and tai chi have similar relaxing benefits, as well as resting in a relaxing environment with special aromas, dim lighting, and soft music.
In a totally quiet environment your brain will try to hear any sound more clearly - including the sound of your tinnitus. It is therefore important to try to avoid complete silence, especially when you are trying to sleep at night. Increasing the amount of ‘background noise’ in your home or workplace can help lessen your focus on your tinnitus tone.
If you have tinnitus, you should not wear any kind of earplugs that make it more difficult to hear, except when exposed to very loud noises. They will not help your tinnitus and will instead make it seem louder as they create the sort of quiet environment that it is advised should be avoided.
Keeping active and involved in your interests and hobbies can enhance your quality of life and help you focus on other things aside from tinnitus. It may be that you want to try something new, rekindle an old interest or help out with the running of a tinnitus support group.
It is also important to monitor your overall health and wellbeing. If you find that certain foods or drinks, activities or situations aggravate your tinnitus you could consider cutting down on these or finding alternatives. This may mean making a few adjustments but will mean that tinnitus doesn’t stop you carrying on with life in the way you want to.
Try Specsavers tinnitus hearing aids
If you suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus, Specsavers new range of Advance 16 hearing aids include QuadCore technology, which may provide relief from tinnitus, as well as improving your hearing. They come with an integrated white noise masker to dampen the effects of tinnitus.
*British Tinnitus Association