What is Tinnitus
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of external auditory stimulation, it most commonly presents as a high-pitched noise.
Tinnitus can have a negative impact on a person’s physical and emotional well-being, causing increased stress levels, concentration problems, sleeping problems and reduced ability to hear. These in turn may have a negative effect on the person’s social life, personal relationships, and ability to work.
1 in 10 people suffer from tinnitus of which 20% have tinnitus that is disabling.
Research indicates that 80% of tinnitus patients have an underlying hearing loss of which they may not be aware of. Only 1% of this population have severely debilitating tinnitus warranting further medical and professional intervention by a team of professionals.
Tinnitus studies with imaging have suggested the involvement of central structure involved in hearing and auditory processing, attention and emotion. Hearing loss and reduced tolerance for sounds that are not necessarily loud (hyperacusis) often accompany tinnitus.
The main causes of tinnitus is noise exposure. Even though there is better awareness of the risks of damaging the hearing from excessive noise exposure, young people have increased their overall noise exposure. The popularity of mobile music devices such as iPods and the general increased levels of industrial noise will all contribute to increased hearing difficulties and tinnitus for this younger generation.
Tinnitus accompanies a wide variety of auditory pathologies, including wax, otitis media (middle ear fluid and infection), otosclerosis, noise damage, menieres disease, administration of ototoxic medications, 8th. nerve tumours, trauma to the head, TMJ, neck disorders, age, diuretics (furosemide) and quinine and congenital deafness.