What is Tinnitus?

The British Tinnitus Association defines tinnitus as; “the perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound. This noise may be heard in one ear, in both ears or in the middle of the head or it may be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. The noise may be low, medium or high‑pitched. There may be a single noise or two or more components. The noise may be continuous or it may come and go.” (ref; www.tinnitus.org.uk/what-is-tinnitus).

It occurs when the mechanisms in your brain and ears 'tune in' to a tinnitus signal hence making you more aware of that particular ‘noise’.  The sounds that people sometimes experience can range from buzzing, humming or whistling to rhythmic beats or clicks that can sometimes be in time with your heartbeat. It is estimated that 7 million people in the UK have experienced tinnitus at some point in their lives.

There are many different reasons for increased sensitivity to the tinnitus sound. We know that tinnitus can be linked to:

  • exposure to loud noise
  • hearing loss 
  • ear or head injuries
  • diseases of the ear
  • ear infections
  • emotional stress
  • some medication has been linked to tinnitus – please see your GP if you have any concerns regarding the medication you have been prescribed. 

There is no medical cure for tinnitus however there are techniques and treatments to help you manage your tinnitus, for more information see our Tinnitus Management page.