It is Tinnitus Week 2021 – organised by the British Tinnitus Association to raise awareness of the condition and to ensure those with tinnitus have access to all the information they need.
So what is Tinnitus?
The itself word comes from the Latin word tinnire, which means “to ring”. It is the name given to the perception of a non-existent sound. Sufferers will experience a noise 'in their ear' or 'in their head'. This is often a ringing, buzzing, humming or whistling noise. Some people may hear other noises such as ocean waves, insects or music.
According to BUPA, one in 10 people will experience mild tinnitus at some point in their lives. Other reports suggest that 30% of people will experience the condition.
Rarely is Tinnitus a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Though, as always, it is advisable to seek medical advice if you have the condition or think you may do. What it is like does vary considerably from person to person. For many sufferers however it can have a huge impact on their lives. For some it may come and go, for other people it may be more constant.
Understandably the hearing noises that are not caused by sounds coming from the external environment can lead frustration, fear, anger, depression, insomnia and anxiety. Many people talk feel overwhelmed by the condition, that it takes over their life.
So what causes it?
There are a number of things associated with tinnitus. Hearing loss, age-related deafness and genetic damage to the inner ear may contribute to the condition. Also regular exposure to loud music, especially in younger people, can also cause sounds of tinnitus. It is thought that stress is not a direct cause of tinnitus, however it can certainly exacerbate it.
One emerging area of research is whether hearing loss and tinnitus can result from coronavirus infection—either as a symptom or as a complication days or weeks later.
For many it may be hard to pin point exactly what has caused the condition, which can be frustrating in itself.
So what can be done?
There is not yet a cure for tinnitus, however those with the condition can improve how the manage symptoms.
Many of the treatments available focus on improving everyday life and helping those with tinnitus cope with symptoms. The NHS recommend relaxation, breathing exercises, focussing on improving sleep etc. These are all things hypnotherapy can assist with.
Hypnotherapy can help with managing with the psychological aspects of tinnitus, such as the anger, stress and anxiety it may cause. Everyone will experience tinnitus differently, therefore the hypnotherapy treatment will be individual. Hypnotherapy can include a variety of tools and techniques to help the client feel more at peace with the noise. Treatment can include guiding the unconscious to process the sounds of tinnitus the same way as everyday background noise. Hypnosis for tinnitus can make the sounds seem less threatening and easier to live with. It can help make the condition seem less overwhelming. Therefore easier to live with.
I have seen a number of clients for tinnitus, many struggled with their sleep, and hypnotherapy was hugely beneficial in this area, alongside helping manage the condition generally.
The treatment has been hugely beneficial. I feel more energy and enthusiasm for life in general. I am sleeping better, which is hugely positive. The disturbance to my sleep by the tinnitus was a significant problem. Martin
Find out more
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BBC - Tinnitus: What it is like living with the condition
Malcolm Struthers Hypnotherapy - Online and in-person in Dumfries & Galloway