Mr John Marshall - Consultant Otolaryngologist

Tinnitus

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Tinnitus occurs when our brain perceives a sound that isn't due to any external sounds arriving at the ear.  Often people describe a hissing or ringing noise which seems like it's in one ear, both ears or in the head.  Often, but not always, there is a degree of hearing loss. 

The severity of tinnitus varies hugely from a minor nuisance to a major impact on life quality.  Tinnitus of recent onset may settle considerably with time or disappear altogether. Various coping strategies can help, but there are no medical quick fixes (beware claims of magic cures on the Internet).

If you have tinnitus you should see an ENT specialist to assess the ears and hearing.

Key points: 

  • Avoiding very quiet places and using background sounds or music to 'mask' the tinnitus can be helpful.
  • Tinnitus is usually more noticeable if someone is stressed, anxious or depressed. Recognising this link prevents additional anxiety if the tinnitus seems louder during a period of stress.  It will recede again when the stress settles.  
  • When tinnitus accompanies a significant hearing loss, a hearing aid may help both the hearing and the tinnitus
  • Loud, one-sided or pulsatile (often in time with your pulse) tinnitus should be investigated with at least a hearing test.  
  • Sometimes a scan is recommended to rule out very rare and unusual causes of tinnitus.

 

If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your symptoms further, please do so via using one of the available options on our contact us page