If you are one of the 10% of UK adults suffering from tinnitus you will know how annoying the constant ringing or buzzing in the ears can be.
‘Tinnitus is an extremely common problem says Nick Taylor, audiologist and head of professional advancement at Specsavers Audiologists. 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 a hearing aid won’t actually cure tinnitus, many people who are experiencing hearing loss and tinnitus often experience a benefit from using one. The aid stimulates the brain to engage and focus on surrounding sounds, and ultimately distracts it from the tinnitus. For many people this helps to reduce or in some cases alleviate the condition.
Specsavers Audiologists offer the following tips:
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.
For more information or to book a free hearing test visit Specsavers Audiologists -The Specsavers Hearing Check App is also free to download on the App and Play store on iOS or Android devices, and advises whether a full check in store is recommended.