Tinnitus is a collective name for sounds that someone hears, but that someone else can not hear. Many people have that sensation briefly after a concert or a party, but we speak of tinnitus when these sounds persist. There are all kinds of sounds imaginable, such as whizzing, rustling, cracking, whistling, wheezing, humming, ringing and much more. These sounds can be high or low and loud or soft. The sounds do not come from outside and are therefore not audible to others. Tinnitus can be so serious that daily life is disrupted. People who suffer from tinnitus can then have trouble to work, sleep or a have normal social life or family life.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF TINNITUS?
The cause can not always be determined exactly. Usually it is associated with hearing loss. Possible causes are: age-related hearing impairment, exposure to loud sounds, ear infection, side effects of certain medicines, stress or injury to the ear or the head. In exceptional cases, tinnitus is caused by a tumor in the auditory or equilibrium nerve. Also abnormalities of the hearing organ, the jaw joint or the brain can cause tinnitus.
There are strong indications that the problem of tinnitus is often not in the ears, but in the brain, in the so-called auditory cortex. This is the area in the brain that is responsible for hearing sounds. If this area is incorrectly controlled, tinnitus is created.
If the ENT doctor finds a medically treatable cause of tinnitus, treatment can often take place. If there is no medically treatable cause, the tinnitus can be permanent.
Learning to live with permanent tinnitus is not easy. Tinnitus can control your life. But with the right guidance it is possible to accept and to bear the tinnitus. The sound does not change, but the inconvenience you experience changes. A special device or therapy can help you to achieve this.