11. Tinnitus

Tinnitus – sounds that are audible all the time, but do not come from an external source.

There are many causes of tinnitus, such as stress and being subjected to overly loud sounds.

The ear is a sensitive sense organ that is actually designed to listen to sounds within quietness – a survival sense. Today we are surrounded by sounds all day long. Not all sounds are loud or dangerous, but when we add up all the sounds around us, perhaps including overly loud sounds over a long time, our hearing can become damaged.

Tinnitus can sound like ringing, crackling, whistling, chirping – just about anything. Your brain has great potential for accepting changes, and tinnitus usually improves over time rather than becoming worse. Today there are good methods to ease the suffering of tinnitus (see www.audionom.se). Anyone who develops tinnitus should have his or her ears and hearing examined. Sometimes even a build-up of wax in the ear can cause temporary tinnitus.

Tinnitus involves the brain failing to filter out “unneeded” sounds in an effective way, forcing the sufferer to notice these sounds, which often results in discomfort. Those who suffer from tinnitus often experience a noticeable increase in stress and/or anxiety, which results in detrimental effects to sleep, among other things. Often the focus on these sounds is also connected to negative thoughts (sometimes even intense catastrophic thoughts) about how life will be in the future.

The goal of treatment is to focus less on the sounds and to lower the stress reaction with the help of various techniques, such as masking, relaxation, and anxiety management of thoughts and feelings.

Audiologist Kerstin Dahmén