Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears or head when no external sound is present. It is a complex, and often misunderstood phenomenon that can cause significant anxiety and stress to those who suffer with it.

For many years there’s been limited understanding and some disagreement amongst medical professionals as to its cause and the best approach to treatment. More recently, greater efforts in the fields of research and development have increased understanding, leading to the development of more effective treatments and management strategies.

Subjective, primary tinnitus is the most common type. Tinnitus perception is neurologically generated in the auditory cortex, an area of the brain concerned with the processing of signals originating in the cochlea – the hearing nerve.

Usually primary tinnitus can be linked to hearing loss. It’s true to say that the characteristics of the perception audible to the individual often reflect the nature of the hearing loss. For example, high-frequency hearing loss often results in a high-pitched tinnitus perception. Although, hearing loss is a contributing factor for the initiation and continuation of tinnitus, other physiological and psychological factors are involved.

A common trigger is often underlying stress or anxiety. In fact, the emotional response of an individual to tinnitus is often critical in determining the severity of the symptoms and the resulting impact on one’s quality of life.

Unlike subjective, or primary tinnitus (that is neurologically generated) the cause of objective or secondary tinnitus lies elsewhere in body, hence the name ‘secondary tinnitus.’ For example, an individual might detect the sound of blood flowing in the vessels close to the ear, perhaps, due to the narrowing of the structure or vascular disease.

The most widely recognized treatment for the management of tinnitus is Sound Therapy, which promotes habituation to tinnitus perception by using a calibrated and targeted sound stimulus to actively influence the central tinnitus pitch, reducing tinnitus awareness over the longer term.

If you have any queries at all about our tinnitus services or would like to arrange a Tinnitus Assessment, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01765 278 744 or fill in the contact form on this page.

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