Hearing sounds such as ringing, buzzing or roaring is a common occurrence. This perception of noise in the ears or head is called tinnitus. Tinnitus is not a condition on its own, but is commonly a symptom of an underlying condition such as hearing loss. It can also be related to multiple factors such as stress, aging, noise exposure, certain drugs and occasionally certain health conditions.
Statistics Canada surveys estimate more than 1 in 3 Canadians have experienced tinnitus in their lifetime. Tinnitus may eventually fade away on its own, but in some cases, it may also be debilitating leading to sleep disturbances and loss of concentration.
A hearing and tinnitus assessment by an audiologist is recommended in order to learn more about possible underlying causes and to assist in management.
There are several treatment options to manage tinnitus:
- Hearing aids to treat underlying hearing loss
- Tinnitus maskers
- Sound therapy
- Stress relief
- Peer support groups
Oftentimes, identifying an underlying hearing loss and truly understanding tinnitus is the first step to coping with it. Audiologists are hearing healthcare professionals that can help develop strategies for tinnitus and treatment options.