Our world is alive with sound. Laughter, unforgettable melodies, waves breaking on the shore – all these sounds enrich our lives and are literally music to our ears, lifting our mood. However, what happens when one sound suddenly takes control?
When tinnitus calls the tune
Tinnitus is noise that originates from within the ear and affects one or both ears. Although there is not presently a cure for most cases, there are ways of finding relief. These pages aim to help patients come to terms with a tinnitus diagnosis, informing them about how to actively address the complaint, and helping them to control tinnitus and not be controlled by it.
Tinnitus comes in many forms.
Tinnitus is the medical term for hearing noises in your ears. It comes from the Latin verb “tinnire,” which means “to ring.” The noise differs from one person to the next in nature, pitch and volume. Many describe the noise as a whistling, hissing, roaring, or ringing in the ear.
Subjective and objective tinnitus
Tinnitus can be classified into two categories: subjective and objective:
- The more rarely encountered objective tinnitus is also perceptible to another person, and can be directly measured by a Hearing Care Professional. Generally, it can be treated medically.
- Subjective tinnitus, on the other hand, is only audible to the sufferer. The tinnitus is internalized – with no direct external noise source. Although this type of tinnitus cannot be measured, it is by no means a figment of the imagination. It is a very real affliction for people strongly affected by tinnitus. However, there are ways of coping with this condition and alleviating the impact of subjective tinnitus.
Type and severity
If this noise is only temporary and soon disappears again (e.g. after a loud concert), it is called acute tinnitus. But for millions of people, the noises are permanent, thus developing into chronic tinnitus.
The large majority of sufferers perceive the noises as a source of minor to no irritation. But around one in five describes the experience as unpleasant to unbearable. Many people are so stressed by tinnitus that it impairs their quality of life.