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Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a subjective symptom of hearing noises in ones ears. This noise may be particularly troublesome during the night since during the day it could be masked by environmental sounds. The noises may be high pitched or intermittent or constant. The intensity of these sounds can be exacerbated by drinking too much coffee or alcohol, stress and loud music or sounds etc. Tinnitus causes a lot of anxiety and worry in the patient who may become very concerned about its origin, thinking it may be a tumour. However, suffice to say that it is extremely common as It is estimated that some 30 % - 40% of the population suffer from tinnitus at one point in their life. This condition is also common with people experiencing deafness.

Further investigations

Tinnitus requires consultation with an ENT surgeon who will perform a hearing test in order to investigate it. By far the most cases of tinnitus are benign but rarely a more serious condition such as a tumour of the auditory nerve may be found on a scan, which may be requested if the sensorineural hearing loss in the ears is asymmetrical or the tinnitus is in one ear only.

Treatment

The treatment of tinnitus usually entails some amount of counselling and possibly, if there is an associated hearing loss, the use of mechanical devices such as hearing aids.

Medication has not as yet found to be very helpful in general.

Tinnitus frequently becomes better with time as the patient begins to co habituate with it or it subsides.

Patients are frequently directed to the www.tinnitus.com website which gives lots of invaluable information.

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