Many people experience a ringing in their ears, and it’s got nothing to do with the big city life – it can most possibly be tinnitus! Tinnitus affects 15 – 35% of South Africans with normal hearing and presents in approximately 50 to 60% percent of individuals with hearing losses. Despite its widespread dominance, it’s still a medical mystery to most scientists of what causes tinnitus.

The Challenge in Finding a Cure for Tinnitus

Tinnitus has almost always been around! Reports date back as far as 1600 BC. But even in this modern age, there is still a lot we don’t know about tinnitus, and this has prevented researchers from discovering a cure.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the conscious awareness of a sound sensation in either a person’s head or ears in the absence of an external sound source. Tinnitus is not limited to ringing in the ears. Some people experience tinnitus as a buzzing sound, a hiss, or even a repetitive musical tone. Tinnitus may be constant or intermittent and the pitch and loudness may vary. Tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease, the result of a wide number of underlying conditions, which can be more than 200 in all.

How common is tinnitus?

It is estimated that tinnitus affects about 30% of the worldwide population. It is most common in older adults but can affect people of all ages.

Can tinnitus be measured like hearing loss?

Despite decades of research, there is still no cure for tinnitus yet. Without a tool to objectively measure its effects, doctors are forced to rely on each patient’s individual perception of how severe their symptoms are.

A firm diagnosis is all unfortunately impossible. Furthermore, no two cases of tinnitus are the same. Some people describe it as an occasional nuisance that is hardly noticeable, while others call it a constant distraction that impacts nearly every aspect of their lives.

Can tinnitus be treated with medication?

Because of all this unpredictability, there are so many theories rather than proper scientific evidence. Tinnitus is the result of a complex set of processes occurring in different areas of the brain; this makes it difficult for pharmaceutical companies to decide which region of the brain to target when developing medication.

A better understanding of the tinnitus process is necessary before we can expect forward progress. One promising sign is better collaboration between doctors, patients, and academic researchers in recent years.

Tinnitus Treatment Strategies

There may not be a cure for tinnitus, but we assist many of our patients to find relief by managing their symptoms. Adjustment and masking techniques are two of the most popular remedies and they encourage the brain to assign less importance to tinnitus, so it is no longer as noticeable. Tinnitus sound therapy, meditation, relaxation techniques and lifestyle modifications can all help.

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 16 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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