The Canadian Tinnitus Association estimates that 360,000 Canadians are annoyed by tinnitus, and that 150,000 cannot stand it. In total, 10-15% of the world’s population suffers from tinnitus, 85% of whom suffer from hearing loss as well.
Tinnitus is often described as a “ringing in the ears,” but it is more accurately described as hearing sound when no external source of that sound exists. Tinnitus can sound like a rushing river, a roaring freight train, a steady hiss or buzz, a whistle, a scream, a steady tone, and even the rhythmic sounds of crickets, beeps or ticking clocks.
Effects of Tinnitus
Those with persistent tinnitus can experience: insomnia, trouble concentrating and memory problems, which can lead to anxiety and even depression.
Causes of Tinnitus
The most common direct cause of tinnitus is damage to the sensory hair cells of the cochlea, in the inner ear. But, even though it may seem to be a disease, tinnitus is merely a symptom. Hearing loss, whether due to age, genes or the prolonged exposure to noise, is the main cause of tinnitus. Heart disease, high blood pressure, the side effects of medication and even dental problems are other causes.
Before anyone can treat the tinnitus you or a loved one may be experiencing, a professional hearing healthcare provider should perform a hearing test to see if hearing loss is the reason for the phantom noise. If hearing loss is the underlying cause, then hearing aids can help reduce your symptoms and improve communication.
Power, D. (2018). Is Lyric an effective option for tinnitus? Investigating the benefits of a hearing aid that can be worn 24/7.
Submitted for peer review publication.
Hoffman, H. and Reed, G. (2004) Epidemiology of tinnitus. In: Tinnitus: Theory and Management. Lewiston, NY: BC Decker Inc., 16–41.