Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of noise in the ear or head, which is generated inside the body rather than coming from the outside. Like dizziness, tinnitus is usually a symptom of some other problem. The problem is often more noticeable at bedtime or in quiet places, and fatigue may make it worse. Approximately 10 percent of the population is affected to some degree. It is more common as we age. Left untreated, tinnitus can lead to irritability, poor concentration, difficulty sleeping and even depression. It is a difficult and challenging condition. While there is no cure, fortunately treatments are available. The first step is to have an thorough evaluation to determine the cause, as this will determine what treatments are most suitable. Treatment usually begins with changes to the diet and lifestyle, including avoidance of sodium and caffeine, getting plenty of rest and exercise, and often includes the use of other sounds to cover up the tinnitus, known as “masking”. Newer techniques for treating tinnitus include cognitive behavioral therapy, counselling, tinnitus retraining therapy, noise-suppressing hearing aids, and intratympanic perfusion with lidocaine, a procedure in which medicine is injected in the ear to help reduce the tinnitus.