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Tinnitus can produce lingering, buzzing noises in your ears and it affects roughly 360 million people worldwide.

If you are one of the many people in the world suffering from tinnitus, you will know the impact it can have on all aspects of your life, from your work to your social and family life. We want to touch on the various causes of tinnitus and deflate the myths surrounding it.

What exactly is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no actual sound is present. There are various causes for tinnitus, but it can be categorised as tonal and non-tonal.

Tonal tinnitus refers to the perception of overlapping sounds or near-continuous sound with a well-defined frequency, such as ringing, whistling, or buzzing. This is the most common form of tinnitus. Non-tonal forms of tinnitus include noises such as clicking, humming, rumbling and crackling.

What can cause tinnitus?

Though the exact cause of tinnitus is unknown, contributing triggers and factors have been identified. These include unwarranted exposure to loud noises due to damage to the auditory system. It could also be the result of a chronic neck muscle strain or jaw-joint dysfunction, such as teeth grinding.

The following are the main types of tinnitus and their known contributing factors:

Subjective tinnitus is the most common type and accounts for 95% of cases. The very hard and frustrating part is that it can only be heard by you. It can appear quickly and can last up to three months, which is known as acute, or up to 12 months, which is known as subacute. However, there are cases that it may last longer.

Objective tinnitus is very rare. It can be heard by a doctor by either listening very closely to your ear or using a stethoscope. It may occur due to vascular deformities or involuntary muscle contractions. The sound is often described as pulsating.

Myths surrounding tinnitus
    1. There is nothing you can do about tinnitus
      Of course there is! Research into tinnitus is constantly ongoing, and treatments are always improving and evolving. Whether your tinnitus is severe, moderate or mild, you can find a treatment. For example, hearing aids by Signia are small technological marvels. They not only improve hearing and amplify sounds, they also provide a variety of solutions to relieve the effects of tinnitus.
    2. Everyone with tinnitus eventually goes deaf
      Hearing loss and tinnitus can happen. However, if you suffer from tinnitus, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will become or are going deaf. Hearing aids can often manage the symptoms of tinnitus and correct hearing loss at the same time.
    3. Tinnitus always manifests as a ringing in the ears
      Tinnitus sounds can be different for everyone. Ringing is quite common, but so is whooshing, buzzing, or humming. The volume can also vary for each individual.

If you’re interested in helping to improve your tinnitus symptoms, then we want to advise you to book an appointment with us so that we can map out the best treatment for you and come up with tinnitus therapies.

About Strauss Audiology
Strauss Audiology is a professional audiology business in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, offering expert, effective hearing advice that is tailored to clients’ unique hearing needs. We conduct hearing evaluations, hearing tests and vertigo assessments, and provide a range of solutions to improve and protect clients’ hearing. This includes providing hearing aids to Cape Town clients. With 13 years of experience, and with the qualifications and certifications to deliver leading hearing care, you can trust us to take care of your hearing needs.

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