Tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom and can be described as hearing sounds in the ears that cannot be perceived by the environment. Sometimes the sounds are very troublesome. Tinnitus can occur at any age and is commonly associated with hearing loss.

The sound differs from person to person and the most common thing is that you experience a high-frequency tone. The most common reasons for seeking help for tinnitus are sound stress in the work environment, noise damage or hearing loss due to aging. You may also get tinnitus due to certain drugs, ear diseases or tension in the neck, jaws, and shoulders. Anemia, disorders of metabolism, depression, and anxiety can also cause tinnitus.

How does tinnitus sound?

People who have tinnitus usually describe the character of the sound in many different ways. The sound can be, for example, whistling, whistling, wheezing, humming or metallic. Most people with tinnitus experience a high-frequency tone, but you can also experience several different sounds. Many feel that the sound varies in character throughout the day. The volume can vary from a faint background sound that is heard only in a silent environment to a loud sound that overrides external sound sources.

Tinnitus can, in turn, lead to other symptoms and it is common with problems such as irritation, disturbed sleep, and disturbed concentration.

Some who have tinnitus also feel tired and depressed. It is common with muscle tension and it is often thought that the problems impair the quality of life. It is not uncommon for hearing and sensitivity to sound to occur.

When should I seek care?

Contact a health care provider in the following cases:

  • You have so much trouble with tinnitus that you get annoyed, have difficulty concentrating or have sleep problems.
  • You get tinnitus in just one ear and the trouble does not decrease within a few weeks.
  • You have tinnitus that is aggravated by stress, muscle tension, anxiety or anxiety and where the aggravation does not decrease within a few weeks.

Occasionally you will receive a referral to, for example, ear-nose-throat clinic, hearing care department, psychiatric clinic or dentist with special knowledge about bite disorders.

Seek help directly at a health center or on-call reception if you have suffered an acute noise trauma such as loud screaming or slamming near the ear. There are medicines that can prevent permanent damage.

If you get acute tinnitus with concomitant hearing loss, you may be treated with cortisone which improves the possibility of healing.

You can seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic you want throughout the country. You also have the opportunity to have a regular doctor’s contact at the health center.

How can I prevent tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be prevented by not exposing your ears to excessive noise. You should use earmuffs if you use loud machines. When you go to concerts or other events where the sound is loud, you should protect your ears with earplugs, so-called music plugs. If the sound level is so high that it is not possible to talk, as usual, you should protect your ears. Ear lids and ear lice can be signs that you have been exposed to sounds that have been too loud.

Investigations

When seeking treatment of tinnitus, the doctor usually conducts a general health assessment, which includes a review of the history of the disease and a physical examination. A regular hearing test where only tones are tested can show that the hearing is as it should be despite the fact that some sensory cells are damaged. Usually, you lose your mind cells throughout your life, but only in middle age can a hearing impairment be registered.

Tinnitus cannot be measured objectively

Tinnitus cannot be measured by objective measurement methods. Therefore, you must describe your problems with tinnitus yourself. Suffering is often measured by questionnaires, which can include the following:

  • How often you experience tinnitus.
  • How intrusive tinnitus feels.
  • How tinnitus affects daily activities.
  • How you are mentally affected by tinnitus.
  • How tinnitus affects work capacity.
  • How tinnitus affects your overall health.

Treatment of tinnitus

There is no scientifically proven cure for tinnitus. The treatment of tinnitus is instead about alleviating the problems and improving the experience of the troublesome sounds. Most people who get tinnitus get better by themselves after some time or after receiving treatment.

How you feel physically and mentally is important to how much you suffer from having tinnitus. Although you often need the help of a doctor, there are many things you can do yourself. Here are some examples of actions:

  • You can try to avoid loud noises and noise.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, try turning on the radio or any other sound source that can provide a pleasant background sound.
  • You can try to stress less and make sure there is time for recovery and relaxation. It is good to exercise regularly, as it prevents fatigue, stress, and depression.

At a doctor, you can have your hearing checked and help with hearing enhancement if your hearing is impaired. A hearing aid can make you no longer experience the same tinnitus problems. If the hearing is as it should be, a noise emitter can sometimes be helpful. In new hearing aids, there is sometimes optional audio stimulation.

Here you can read about how it is possible to get hearing aids and other hearing aids. There you can also find out what tools are available to get where you live.

You should make sure you get treatment for bodily illnesses. This can be, for example, pain, improper load or disability. In addition, you should receive treatment if you are depressed or have anxiety. It is important to try to adjust the requirements of yourself so that the life situation becomes reasonable. Sometimes you may need professional help and medication to be able to move on and be good.

The healthcare staff should tell you what treatment of tinnitus options are available. They should make sure you understand what the different options mean, what side effects are available and where you can get treatment. This way you can help decide which treatment is right for you.

In order for you to be active in your care and make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive. The healthcare staff is obliged to ensure that you do so. Ask questions. You can also ask to have the information written down so you can read it peacefully. 

Importantly investigate why tinnitus has developed into a problem

When you seek help, you need to find out why you got tinnitus. The cause can be a permanent or temporary hearing loss, and therefore a doctor should investigate if you have a hearing loss.

You should also find out why tinnitus has become prominent and affected the quality of life. The doctor tries to find out the reason why tinnitus has developed into a problem. In this way, the treatment can be directed to the causes of the tinnitus you have.

The arrangement of the treatment you receive varies between different county councils. There are lectures, treatments individually or in groups and also treatment via the internet.

If a child gets tinnitus, school health care and other child health care needs to be connected. Tinnitus rehabilitation for children is found in several places in the country.

Tinnitus exacerbated by bodily symptoms

If you have tinnitus exacerbated by bodily symptoms, you should receive treatment and alleviation of the root cause of tinnitus disorders. It can be about various pain conditions such as neck pain, back pain, and other joint pain. If you have tinnitus which is aggravated by bodily symptoms, it usually changes character when pressed against, for example, the neck or during movement of the jaw joint. Often physiotherapy can help. 

If you have tinnitus, it is common that you also have tension in the jaw muscles. Then you should be treated for this, for example with stain rails. You can usually get them from your regular dentist, but sometimes you need the help of a specialist dentist. In some cases, the problems of the jaw region and tinnitus are related because the nerve pathways are connected at the central level.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (KBT) is the method with the greatest scientific support for the relief of tinnitus disorders. If you get KBT, the goal is, among other things, to learn methods to reduce or manage the problems that tinnitus causes. It can be, for example, sleep problems, concentration problems, stress, stress, irritation, fatigue, and sound sensitivity. In therapy, you will learn to find ways to relate to tinnitus to make it less disturbing in everyday life. You will still have tinnitus even after the treatment, but probably will not be disturbed as much anymore.

Tinnitus retraining therapy

Tinnitus retraining therapy, TRT, is another treatment method that uses sound stimulation in combination with structured counseling. The method does not have extensive support in the research but can help. The sound comes from a so-called sound stimulator that you wear for several hours a day and the sound is set to such a level that you still hear the tinnitus sounds. The sound stimulator should be used for about 1-1.5 years. The goal of TRT is not to remove the tinnitus sound but to reduce the negative reactions to the sound, such as irritation and discomfort. In this way, there may be so-called habituation, or habituation, of the sound, which can mean that you will no longer hear tinnitus unless you actively listen to it. The treatment is performed by an audiologist.

Depression can make the experience worse

Sometimes you may need to treat a depression, which aggravates the experience of tinnitus before you can receive other forms of treatment for tinnitus. However, there is no support to provide such treatment for tinnitus unless you have depression.

Important with early care

If you are looking for tinnitus at a doctor at the health center, make a careful assessment of your health condition. The doctor also needs to know what life situation you have because it is important for you to get the right treatment.

There are studies that indicate that early tinnitus treatment, especially if the treatment is individualized in its design, makes the course easier and the negative impact on the quality of life decreases.

Alternative treatment methods

There are people who take herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort to test if these remedies have an effect on tinnitus. There are also other alternative treatments, such as laser treatment.

There is no scientific evidence that these treatments have any effect on tinnitus.

New medical assessment

If you have been diagnosed with tinnitus and are unsure whether you are receiving the care and treatment that is best for you, you may receive a  new medical assessment, a so-called second opinion. You will then see another doctor, usually at another specialist clinic. Ask your doctor if you want to know more about how to get a new medical assessment.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom and can be described as a sound in the ears that cannot be perceived by the surroundings. The word comes from the Latin “tinnier” which means “to call”.

Almost all people have at some point experienced the ringing, beeping, whispering or roaring in their ears. In a soundproofed room, many people hear sounds coming from their own bodies. Most people hear tinnitus sounds that last a shorter time. Sometimes transient tinnitus can be experienced after you have been exposed to strong sounds, such as after a concert.

Tinnitus occurs at all ages but is most common among middle-aged and older people. People in all professions get tinnitus. This is especially common among industrial workers, farmers, musicians, and teachers.

Hearing impairment usually in the person who has tinnitus

Damage to hearing is common in people who suffer from tinnitus. Approximately three out of four people with tinnitus have a hearing loss at the same time.

What is the reason for tinnitus?

For example, if you have a noise injury, the so-called sensory cells in the inner ear have been subjected to excessive sound waves. In some cases, the ability of sensory cells to record sounds may be temporarily impaired. If the sensory cells continue to be exposed to high or high levels repeatedly, you may have permanent hearing damage. At extremely high noise levels, it may be enough for an occasion. It is not possible to repair the ear’s sensory cells after such damage has occurred, but you can get help from a hearing aid.

Many causes of tinnitus

There are various explanations for why you get tinnitus. The most common reasons for seeking tinnitus care are sound stress in the work environment that has led to fatigue. Other causes are noise damage and hearing loss because you have become older. In rare cases, temporary tinnitus may be due to the use of too much drug-containing acetylsalicylic acid, such as Aspirin and Treo, but the sound will disappear as the drug goes out of the body.

There are several theories about why tinnitus occurs when you get a hearing loss. One explanation for tinnitus maybe that damaged inner cells of the inner ear activate themselves without being affected by outside sounds. Another explanation may be that damage to the insulating envelopes of the nerve fibers causes the transfer of impulses to other nerve fibers. It causes erroneous signals to be sent to the hearing center in the brain.

Everyone with hearing loss does not have tinnitus

Although tinnitus is usually associated with a hearing loss, not all people with hearing loss have tinnitus. Therefore, this may not fully explain why you get tinnitus. It is also unclear why some who have tinnitus suffer severely, while others are not bothered at all by their tinnitus.

The brain interprets sounds differently

Both tinnitus and ordinary sounds can be interpreted in different ways by the brain. For example, you hear lighter sounds that have a special meaning. It is easier to discern your own name in loud background noise than sounds that are not as significant. A toddler parent can sleep even though the thunder is going, but wake up to a faint sound that the little child emits. Like that, the tinnitus sounds may have received an emotional charge that makes you hear them more easily. Tinnitus can trigger negative emotions and thoughts which then lead to bodily reactions. When the brain’s attention to tinnitus increases, it can lead to, for example, increased tension, irritation, concentration difficulties, and sleep problems.

Tinnitus is similar to long-term pain

Tinnitus is sometimes compared to long-term pain. In the case of prolonged pain, you may be hurt even though the injury that caused the pain initially healed. The pain signals may have affected the nervous system so that you feel pain as before, even though the injury has actually healed. Similarly, it could be that hearing loss affects when new contacts and networks are formed between nerves.

Different types of tinnitus

Tinnitus is usually divided into things that you only hear yourself, called subjective tinnitus, and those that can also be heard by other so-called objective tinnitus. The latter is very unusual.

Another common classification is hearing-related tinnitus and tinnitus, which is aggravated by bodily symptoms. At first, you have a hearing injury and at the latter, the sound can be affected by, for example, the tension of the neck muscles.

Musicians often get tinnitus

People who work with music have tinnitus to a greater extent than others. Among music students and music teachers, as many as quarters may have problems with tinnitus. Sound awareness is of great importance to musicians and can make tinnitus more attention.

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