Tinnitus, that symptom of hearing sounds that have no obvious source affects many adults worldwide.  Specific numbers are hard to estimate because of the wide range of definitions and degree of annoyance experienced by those affected.  Some studies have suggested that as many as 80% of the adult population experience tinnitus at some point in their lives. But more common is an estimate that 10 -17% of the worldwide adult population may be affected.

A 2017 scholarly report (Beukes et al, 2017) noted that the diagnosis of a chronic condition is often a significant life event and that the diagnosis of tinnitus is often associated with a sense of loss and increased levels of stress.  Unless caused by a reversable factor such as temporary ringing caused by a medication such as aspirin, or temporary tinnitus following noise exposure, tinnitus is treatable, but it is rarely eliminated. Treatments vary and may include adopting coping strategies to help. Successful coping is thought to enable those with distressing tinnitus to habituate to the perception and negative personal reactions elicited by the symptom. The study found that active coping styles were more successful than passive coping such as worrying or resigning to the fact that nothing can be done. Different types of active strategies include sound enrichment, adaptive communication tactics, diverting attention, relaxation, using ear protection, amplification, self-reassurance, and seeking support. Sound enrichment such as adding music, radio, or fan noise is a frequently used active strategy. Being physically active and delaying bedtime are diversion tactics that were reported to be successful.

If tinnitus is sudden in nature and accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness or fullness in the ear, you should ask the professionals at our clinic for a referral to an ear nose and throat physician.

An important fact to remember is that tinnitus can be managed and that most people experiencing tinnitus report that it is not bothersome. Action that should be taken is to learn about your tinnitus by having a hearing exam and discussing the symptoms with your physician and a hearing specialist. We are happy to help with any questions or problems you may have with tinnitus, hearing aids or hearing loss. Schedule a consultation with us today. 

Eldré W. Beukes, Vinaya Manchaiah, Gerhard Andersson, Peter M. Allen, Paige M. Terlizzi & David M. Baguley (2018) Situationally influenced tinnitus coping strategies: a mixed methods approach, Disability and Rehabilitation, 40:24, 2884-2894, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1362708 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2017.1362708

A.R. Møller et al. (eds.), Textbook of Tinnitus,

DOI 10.1007/978-1-60761-145-5_5, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011