Understanding Tinnitus


Tinnitus is the term used for noises or sounds which are heard in one or both ears or in the head which other people do not hear. Many people describe their tinnitus as a high-pitched ringing but can also be described as a buzzing, roaring, hissing, pulsing, whistling,  or various other sounds. For some, tinnitus can be very mild in loudness and only noticeable in a quiet room or it can become extremely loud and annoying to the point where it may be the only thing the sufferer is able to hear. These sounds may be constant or occur intermittently.

This video from Tinnitus Talk Support Forum gives some insight into what tinnitus can sound like:

Experiencing loud or annoying tinnitus can cause can result in feelings of irritation, despair, frustration. Some people report sleep disturbances, problems focusing attention and difficulty hearing.

Some causes of tinnitus:

  • Age related hearing loss
  • Certain medications
  • Earwax blockage
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Head or neck injuries
  • TMJ disorder
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Acoustic Neuroma

What can be done?

In rare cases tinnitus may be a symptom of a more serious disorder, therefore, medical and audiological consult should always be the first step in addressing tinnitus. A referral to an otolaryngologist (ENT) may be recommended if further medical evaluation is warranted.

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, there is treatment available in the management of this symptom. This is where our hearing healthcare professionals at Melody Audiology and Hearing Clinic come in:

  • We provide audiological assessment to determine whether hearing loss is present, in association with tinnitus.
  • We provide information counselling to ensure our clients are fully equipped to cope with tinnitus.
  • We can guide the purchasing of white noise machines. These devices, which produce simulated environmental sounds such as falling rain or ocean waves, are often an effective treatment for tinnitus. You may want to try a white noise machine with pillow speakers to help you sleep.
  • We can arrange a free hearing aid demo. This gives our clients a chance to see if masking technology will work to relieve the tinnitus they experiencing, and also address any hearing loss that may be present. Should hearing aids be successful in the management of tinnitus, a hearing healthcare professional will be there every step of the way, offering support, during the uptake of hearing aids.