What is tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
Tinnitus is the perception of sound that is not generated by an outside source. Tinnitus is a sensation that is inherent in almost all of us and we can, for various reasons, become aware of . The word tinnitus comes from the Latin word “tinere”, which means ringing, jingling and making sound.
How does tinnitus occur?
Experiments have shown that in an environment with a total lack of other sounds and stimuli, all people will fairly quickly experience at least a brief tinnitus sensation . We all have different sounds inside us because we are mobile, listening and thinking creatures. Normally, we can prioritize away these sounds, but in different conditions a ”vicious cycle” may be triggered when the sound attention disturbs us and becomes a problem. Trigger factors can be hearing loss, noise trauma, exposure to noise, tension in the temporomandibular joint, neck and shoulders, stress, anxiety and depression, as well as certain drugs [3, 4]. In today’s society, stress seems to be a more common risk factor for developing tinnitus .
How common is tinnitus?
Studies have shown that 10-15% of the population are suffering from symptoms of tinnitus on a regular basis and that 1-3% may experience a deeply disturbing noise . Certain professions, such as teachers, musicians and military personnel, are at increased risk. Some also develop hyperacusis, a hypersensitivity to normal sound in which for example porcelain clatter can be perceived as unpleasant and even painful to the ears.
Is tinnitus dangerous?
No, tinnitus itself is not dangerous but it can have a negative impact on quality of life to a highly varying degree, with major differences between individuals.
Can tinnitus be prevented?
By minimizing the above triggers, the risk of developing tinnitus can be reduced. I.e. avoid noise trauma, protect the ears against noise, treat any tension from the temporomandibular joint, neck and shoulders immediately, try to manage or reduce stress, treat anxiety and depression properly and avoid (and especially do not over-consume) drugs that contain aspirin and NSAIDs. If you start to notice symptoms of tinnitus, try not to think about or listen to it, and convince yourself that it will soon disappear. To avoid developing hyperacusis, you should also avoid sleeping with earplugs and not wear earplugs to protect against normal sounds, but only against harmful noise.
Treatment of tinnitus
There is currently no established uniform and well-functioning treatment. The most common treatments are administered to alleviate the possible underlying causes by testing hearing aids, sound therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and physiotherapy. Antinitus® is one of few CE marked medical devices for relief of the discomfort that tinnitus can bring.*
*The effects may vary, according to clinical studies 30-50% experience relief.
Tinnitus facts checked 21st of April 2016 by Dr Peter Åhnblad, specialist physician in ear-, nose- and throat, Stockholm, Sweden.
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3. Nondahl DM, Cruickshanks KJ, Huang GH, Klein BE, Klein R, Nieto FJ et al. Tinnitus and its risk factors in the Beaver Dam Offspring Study. Int J Audiol 2011; 50: 313–320.
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5. Baigi A, Oden A, Almlid-Larsen V, Barrenäs ML, Holgers KM. Tinnitus in the general population with a focus on noise and stress: a public health study. Ear Hear. 2011 Nov-Dec;32(6):787-9.
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