Tinnitus is no silent witness to hearing loss
3 February 2011
As Tinnitus Awareness Week (4-11 February 2011) gets underway in the UK, national charity Deafness Research UK is warning people that as well as being a devastating condition in its own right, tinnitus should not be ignored, as it can be the herald of more serious underlying hearing loss and has launched a new leaflet encouraging people to seek further advice and treatment.It is estimated that over seven million people in the UK are affected by tinnitus and while three million people have consulted their GP with the condition - which manifests itself as a loud ringing or buzzing in the ears - there is much anecdotal evidence to show that many people tend choose to ignore it and don’t seek a diagnosis from their GP, yet the symptoms can be an early warning of more serious conditions.
For the half a million people for whom the symptoms are severe, the condition can have a massive effect on everyday life, causing lack of sleep, problems with concentrating at work and even problems in personal relationships.
“We now know that tinnitus is not a single problem, but can be a common symptom of underlying causes,” said Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK. “This can be anything from noise-induced hearing loss from exposure to loud environments; a side effect of certain drugs; or in some extreme cases, more serious medical conditions. Any change in the body’s normal function should be investigated and in the case of tinnitus, early diagnosis is advisable and appropriate treatments sought.”
Deafness Research UK’s new leaflet ‘Helping you to hear better: hearing loss and hearing aids ’, outlines what causes different types of hearing loss and advice on what to do next. It also highlights the fact that hearing aids might be helpful in helping you to cope with tinnitus. Tinnitus is can be common in those diagnosed as hard of hearing people, partly due to the damage to the hearing system which is associated with its onset. For those with a hearing impairment, a hearing aid may not only help to make external sounds more audible but may, in some cases, reduce the level of the tinnitus.
Free copies of the ‘Helping you to hear better’ leaflet are available to order via the charity’s website http://www.deafnessresearch.org.uk/6198/publications/helping-you-to-hear-better.html email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our freephone Advisory Service helpline 0808 808 2222