Tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of acoustic stimulation. Put simply, it’s a ringing in the ears, usually like a high pitched bell, squeal, whistle, buzz, swish or a ringing in the ears that sound like it is coming from a distance. Unfortunately, it’s not coming from a distance and this noise is coming from your own ears!
Tinnitus ringing in the ears can be occasional, infrequent, persistent or constant and may also happen occasionally during the day. It is often associated with hearing loss. It is a sign that your central nervous system is on overdrive. In other words, your body is in an overstimulated stress response produced by your central nervous system and it is giving you a tell-tale sign to slow down or to help it.
Common Causes of Tinnitus
- Hearing Loss
- Exposure to loud sounds i.e. industrial noise or concerts causing noise-induced hearing loss
- Head Injury
- Cold or influenza
- Anaesthetic following an operation or medical procedure
- Too much ear wax or ear infections
- Negative side effect of medication
- Scuba diving and inability to equalise
- Ménière’s disease which is an inner-ear condition which causes vertigo
Signs and symptoms of Tinnitus
You may have Tinnitus if you have:
- Ringing or buzzing in one or both ears
- Sleepless nights
- Constant Anxiety
- Mood Swings
- Felling helpless or depression
- Exhaustion and fatigue
At home self help for Tinnitus
- Avoid loud noises (a bit obvious, we know!)
- Play music at a low volume
- Neurofeedback Brain Training or biofeedback
- Gentle exercise
When to get help for Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be annoying and negatively impact on your quality of life. Worse still, if it goes unaddressed it may lead to longer term health issues including permanent hearing loss. Here are a few helpful tips of when to seek help:
- If you have experienced symptoms for longer than one week
- Your symptoms are irritating you and negatively impacting on your quality of life.
- If you are unable to get a good night’s sleep
- Notice possible hearing loss.
- If you suddenly hear ringing, especially only in one ear
- If you experience dizziness
Options for Help with Tinnitus
Like with every health related presentation type, you have medical and non-medical intervention options. While some people choose to go to their GP for medication for infection if present or to have ear wax removed, others choose Neurofeedback or biofeedback for help with Tinnitus. It really is a personal choice and there is not right or wrong answer.
Neurofeedback for Tinnitus – The Research
A Controlled Study of NeurOptimal™ Neurofeedback Brain Training in Tinnitus Patients conducted in 2018 found Brain Training to have very positive improvement on Tinnitus Patients and on their emotional states, stress and sleep quality (click here to read an overview of the study). Other positive effects also detected included improvement in concentration; management of emotions; important reduction or disappearance of headache; sense of serenity; and self-control.
If you notice the warning signs in yourself or in others, it is important to seek help and learn how to manage Tinnitus. Ignoring the signs and symptoms can lead to your Tinnitus becoming much worse, having longer term negative health impacts and may even become permanent or cause permanent hearing loss.
Having it under control can lead to you getting back to yourself and regaining a higher quality of life. As well as other physical and emotional health benefits, as the body’s response to Tinnitus is similar to that of being under stress and unable to perform to its best ability.