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What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is defined as the sensation of hearing a sound without the presence of an external source. There are different types of tinnitus sounds which ranges from high-pitched ringing to humming static noise. They can come and go in short bursts or last for long periods.


Tinnitus can be in one ear or in both and in some circumstances is hard to locate, especially when there is background noise present. The most common time is when everywhere around is silent, like at night when trying to sleep.


Around 30% of people will experience tinnitus at some point, however, around 10% will suffer from persistent levels.


The cause is still unknown however; individuals with hearing loss and/or ear related issues seem to be most exposed.  What we do know is tinnitus is neither a disease nor an illness.


Exposure to noise diagram

The ear works via movement of air, sound waves that are collected by the pinna (shell-like shape either side of the head). The sound waves are directed into the ear canal where the eardrum is situated which vibrates to the intensity of the wave.


Essentially, the ear sends electrical impulses to the brain and we interpret those electrical stimulants as sound. One reason tinnitus may occur could be due to a lack of stimulant (missing sound) and the brain responds by trying to get more information from the ear.


Other things such as stress, anxiety, or changes to general well being can result in the condition.


While there isn’t a cure for tinnitus there are means of managing the condition and reducing the mark it can have on your life. If you do have any concerns please speak with one of our experts - we believe that protecting your hearing on a daily basis is the best form on prevention.


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