Specialists in Earwax Removal

What is Tinnitus?

Why Do I Have Ringing In My Ears?

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is when you can hear noises that are not caused by your ears. It’s common, with around 1 in 10 occasionally affected, and 1 in 8 affected regularly.

It can be caused by hearing loss and often by a blockage of earwax. If this is the case it will usually goes away once the earwax is removed.

What is Tinnitus?

The Science Bit...

When you hear, sound waves travel through your complex ear system and into the cochlea (it looks a bit like a snail shell).

The cochlea is lined with thousands of tiny hairs which change the sound waves into electrical signals.

These signals are passed to the hearing nerve up to your brain which reads them and translates them into what you hear.

If any of this isn’t working properly, it reduces the number of electrical signals sent to the brain and your brain fills the gaps with it’s own interpretation. This is tinnitus.

Is Tinnitus Bad For Me?

If left unsupported, it can start to affect your daily routines. Hearing the noises above other people’s voices or the TV can be common. Though it often worsens in quiet periods and can have a significant impact on your ability to relax and sleep.

While it is rarely a symptom of anything physically serious, many people struggle to live with tinnitus.

What is tinnitus?

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus has 2 base causes, both linked to hearing loss.

  • Sensorineural – usually due to normal ageing or to exposure to loud noises. This can be common if you regularly listen to very loud music or if you work with heavy machinery.
  • Conductive – while less common, this variant is linked to a blockage of some sort stopping natural sounds passing through the ear, such as earwax, or an ear related condition such as a perforated eardrum, infections, Otosclerosis or Meniere’s disease.

On occasion it can be linked to other conditions such as head/neck injuries, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain cancer treatments.

What is tinnitus?

What Does Tinnitus Sound Like?

People often describe it as ‘ringing in your ears’ but it does not stick exclusively to that sensation. Some people we’ve helped have described it as:

It affects different people in different ways. For some it’s constant, for others it comes and goes. For some it’s a high pitched tone, for others it’s low. For some it can be both, hearing multiple sounds at once.

In a similar way some choose to live with their tinnitus as it is not affecting their lives, whereas for others it can be destructive to their ability to relax or even think.

In very rare occasions people hear a pulsing noise in sync with their heartbeat (Pulsatile), or even noises that sound like parts of songs just out of earshot (musical hallucinations).

Is There A Cure?

The ringing sounds can often be caused by a blockage in your ears, such as from earwax or an infection. Once the blockage is dealt with the noises can often go away. This isn’t always the case and some people struggle with tinnitus for years without have an ear blockage. It can also be caused by exposure to loud noises or even just the ageing process.

While we cannot cure it, there are ways to manage it and reduce symptoms to allow you to live comfortably.

Want to find out a little more before making an appointment?

No problem. Call us on 01429 233 091 or visit the NHS website on this subject if you’d like some independent info first.