The word ‘tinnitus’ comes from the Latin word for ‘ringing’. It is the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound. The sound may be a ringing, swishing or other type of noise that seem to originate in the ear or the head. The noise may be low, medium or high pitched with varying loudness. It may be continuous or may come and go. It is fairly common and studies conducted on people aged 55 to 65 years old have found it to be present in every 2 out of 10 individuals.
Tinnitus can result from a wide range of underlying causes some of which are
a) Ear infections
b) Foreign objects in the ear
c) Wax builds up
d) Nasal allergies leading to fluid accumulation in the ear
e) Exposure to loud sounds
f) Neurological damage
One of the most common causes of tinnitus is damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Tinnitus may be accompanied with some degree of hearing loss or may be due to side effects of certain medications.
Tinnitus is evaluated in a bid to identify the root cause of the same. Based on this information various solutions are offered to the patient for the management of tinnitus. These are chiefly based on the principle of TRT (Tinnitus Retraining Therapy).
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
Successful tinnitus management in our clinics is a result of retraining. Once the tinnitus loses its negative meaning, it begins to diminish, and in many cases may not be heard for long periods of time. However, Retraining the subconscious auditory system to accept tinnitus can take a while.
In all cases we try and practice sound enrichment. The idea is to make sure there is always a pleasant, non-intrusive background sound that those, who are suffering from tinnitus may hear (perhaps through a hearing aid, if indicated). This is one of the integral parts of TRT Management. TRT is so far the most successful therapy for tinnitus patients with a success rate of more than 80%.