The term tinnitus comes from the Latin for “to ring”. It refers to the medical condition characterized by the perception of irritating sounds without direct stimulus. This includes ringing, hissing, buzzing, whistling or clicking noises, which can be intermittent, fluctuating, or as in most cases, constant.
With exposure to excessive noise increasingly common, the condition is affecting more and more people these days.
There are several recognized forms of tinnitus:
● Balanced tinnitus – In this case, the sufferer has acclimatized to the condition, and is able to live with it relatively unperturbed.
● Unbalanced tinnitus – In these more severe cases, the condition negatively impacts the sufferer’s vital functions and day-to-day life.
● Subjective tinnitus – This is when the noise can only be perceived by the sufferer.
● Objective tinnitus – Though the sound is generated internally, in this case a medical professional is able to detect it through the use of a stethoscope.
Generally speaking, objective tinnitus is less common. In the majority of cases, only the person living with the condition can hear the noises it generates, which can contribute to feelings of frustration and isolation. At times, the condition can appear and disappear spontaneously, and is often the result of specific external factors that place heightened stress on our sense of hearing.
Chronic tinnitus is perhaps the most extreme and detrimental form of the condition, and typically results in hearing loss. The most common factor here is damage to the hair cells and follicles within the cochlea. Chronic tinnitus can impact our physical and mental wellbeing, so it is important to consult with a medical professional and seek out treatments and therapies that may ease symptoms.
What causes tinnitus?
There can be many causes of tinnitus. Every case is unique and should be treated as such, but known triggers include:
● Chronic stress
● Various health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease
● An overactive thyroid gland
● Problems with blood clotting
● Head and neck injuries
● Exposure to chemicals
Tinnitus can be the result of age-related hypertension, which can be difficult to combat, but protecting ourselves against injury and excessive noise exposure can help to stave off the condition later in life.
Is tinnitus harmful to our health?
In itself, tinnitus is not necessarily harmful to our health, and many people are able to adjust over time to live with the condition. If left untreated, however, the severity of the condition may increase, which can lead to problems with our ability to hear. Not only can this put us at risk – being unable to properly hear traffic and suchlike – the distress of hearing loss can massively affect our mental health. The sensation of constant ringing can also cause difficulties with sleep and concentration, leading to depression, fatigue, and a drop in productivity.
Nowadays, there are various options available to help counteract the problems caused by tinnitus. Prevention is always the best form of defense, as is reacting quickly when symptoms begin to appear. This typically involves consulting with a professional, be it your family doctor or an ENT specialist as soon as possible.
The following can all be used in the treatment of tinnitus:
● The use of hearing aids (with noise generators)
● Habituation methods (which include distraction techniques to help block out the issue)
It should be noted that the above-mentioned therapy is carried out by a qualified psychotherapist.
Earplugs as a defense against tinnitus
Earplugs are unlikely to cure tinnitus, but they can help significantly to prevent it occurring in the first place, by safeguarding us from the harm of external noise. They can also help to reduce the impact of the condition within certain environments, by once again blocking out excess noise, helping the wearer to better focus and feel less overwhelmed.
Choosing the right earplugs
There are earplugs designed for use in all sorts of situations – in the office, on the road, during extreme sports, in the swimming pool, during concerts, while sleeping, and so on.
The latter type – for use during sleep or rest – is a great all-round solution, making them a versatile choice for many users, but there really is something on the market for everyone.
At HASPRO, we pride ourselves on offering a wide variety of product types, be it made to measure earplugs, earplugs for children, disposable, universal, or molded earplugs. To help ward off tinnitus, we would typically recommend checking out the following options: Tube 50, Multi10, Haspro Sleep Universal, or Haspro 1P Foam – some of which are available in a range of colors to suit the individual’s style.
Medical professionals always stress that prevention is better than cure, so with that in mind, let’s all do what we can to look after our hearing now, and protect ourselves from having to deal with tinnitus in the future.