Tinnitus + Hyperacusis

Tinnitus is the experience of a sound that originates from within the head. Commonly, tinnitus is experienced as a high-pitched ringing but it comes in many forms. Some may also experience:
•low pitched roaring tinnitus
•pulsatile tinnitus
•clicking tinnitus
•many other variations. 
Hyperacusis, although different from tinnitus, is often experienced by tinnitus sufferers. Hyperacusis is a severe sensitivity to loud sounds, with increased annoyance and pain from noise. Hyperacusis may also cause certain sounds or noises to worsen tinnitus. 
While tinnitus does not have a single defined cause, it is commonly associated with significant noise exposure and is more common in individuals who have a hearing loss of some degree. It may be caused by something as simple as excessive ear wax, or be a sign of a bigger issue. 

Treatment and Investigations

Although it is often said that there is no cure for tinnitus, there is hope. There are many proven interventions that can help to reduce symptoms and severity and help patients to lead a normal life. Treatment may involve counselling and mindfulness training, hearing aids, diet and lifestyle changes, sound therapy and in very rare cases surgery may be used. Treatment for hyperacusis uses sound therapy and is very similar to the treatment used for tinnitus.

It is important to undertake a full hearing assessment if you are suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis. This will allow your audiologist to determine a possible source and to develop a treatment approach. They will also be able to grade the severity of your tinnitus through the use of scientifically-based questionnaires, which can assist with measuring any improvement after interventions. They are then able to connect you with further treatment options and resources if you require it or provide audiological interventions.

You should seek assessment with an audiologist if your tinnitus is:

– A new development

– Changing in volume or pitch

– Worse in one ear

– In combination with balance issues or ear pain

– A low-pitched roaring sound

– Severe and interrupting normal life

– Disrupting your sleep

– Causing you concern