His knowledge in communication disorders has helped a wide range of patients, including both adults and children with hearing loss. He provides screenings, hearing tests, aural rehabilitation and has an extensive knowledge of both conventional and digital hearing instruments.
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Tinnitus affects about 10 – 20% per cent of adults according to the Hearing Heath Foundation. You might find that this St Patrick’s Day during the festivities while watching the parade, there might be some temporary ringing in your ears after. This could be a sign that you may have tinnitus or possibly that you have a build up of ear wax in your ear!
If you notice a buzzing or ringing sound in your ear this St Patricks day, have your ears checked by your local Hidden Hearing, Hearing Aid Audiologist in one of our 75 branches & clinics nationwide.
Tinnitus can vary in severity and even though most people have a relatively mild form, it can have a big impact on their quality of life. Tinnitus is a physical condition. In other words, it is not something you imagine. There are a number of possible causes, but it is quite often associated with hearing loss.
Things that could make tinnitus worse
- Stress and fatigue
- Caffeine, tea, coffee, cola soft drinks, chocolate, alcohol, nicotine and some drugs
Stress can more than double the instance of tinnitus
In the study, test persons were exposed to stressful situations, for example answering questions while at the same time being interrupted. After the test, blood tests were taken as were new hearing tests. The blood tests tested for levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone which is activated in stressful situations and animal tests have shown that cortisol effects hearing.
“We found that tinnitus is 2.5 times more prevalent in people who are under long-term stress,” says Professor Barbara Canlon, who was one of the people leading the research.
Perceiving sound poorly
According to Professor Canlon, “There was also a clear tendency showing that sound recognition and the ability to perceive spoken numbers in noise was worse in the group of stressed subjects than in other people. This is the first time that it can be proven that long-term stress has an effect on hearing. It is important to consider long-term stress and the risk of burnout when treating tinnitus and over-sensitivity to sound.”
The researchers surmise that tinnitus and stress react together, in that stress can lead to tinnitus and tinnitus can lead to stress.
Top tips to help manage tinnitus
Here is some simple advice which may help you cope with the constant noise of tinnitus:
- Avoid anxiety or stress, as these stimulate an already sensitive hearing system.
- Have adequate rest and avoid fatigue.
- Avoid the use of stimulants to the nervous system, including coffee (caffeine), alcohol, and smoking (nicotine).
- Sleep with your head propped up in an elevated position. This may usually be accomplished with the use of one or two extra pillows. This lessens head congestion, and tinnitus may become less noticeable.
- Be aware that tinnitus is usually more noticeable after retiring for the night and the surroundings are quieter. Any noise in the room, such as a ticking clock or softly playing radio, helps to mask tinnitus and make it less irritating.
- Use a tinnitus masker if you find this helpful
- Some people benefit by using a hearing aid as it amplifies outside noise (like masking)
- Avoid situations that can further damage hearing (excessive noise), and protect your ears from injury and occupational hazards. Use protective ear wear when appropriate.
- Some people receive considerably relief in alternative therapies
- Counseling may be beneficial, especially if people are afraid that they have a serious or progressive disease, such as a brain tumor. Some people worry they may have a mental illness, because the noise is “in their head.” Reassurance by a specialist helps to calm such fears and anxieties.