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Is it Normal to Have Occasional Tinnitus?

a woman experiencing slight ear discomfort

Tinnitus is the term that is used to try and describe the sensation of hearing sound, even though there is a complete absence of external sound. Some of the symptoms include hearing different types of sound, whether it is ringing, whooshing, buzzing or even humming. 

You may find that the noise is continuous, or that it comes and goes. The tinnitus might be in one ear, in the middle of your head or even in both ears. Some people find that the noise is coming from the outside so they try and find it, until they discover that it is inside their ear. Having tinnitus that comes and goes is still tinnitus, and should be treated as such.

Who gets occasional tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a very common condition, and it has even been reported in children. Thirty percent of those who have tinnitus only experience it now and again, or occasionally. Thirteen percent of people have consistent tinnitus. Tinnitus is often seen in those who already have some degree of hearing loss, or any other ear-related condition. The experience of tinnitus differs, but most find that they are able to continue their day to day life without compromise.

What causes tinnitus?

Nobody really knows what causes occasional tinnitus, but it’s not a disease or an illness. Some say that it is down to a mental or physical change, meaning that it’s not always hearing-related. When you hear something, sound will travel into the ear. The ear will then take the signals to the brain. It’s the brain which is responsible for putting it together and then making sense of it. 

The ears don’t know what’s happening and what isn’t, so every signal is sent. This is of course, too much information for the brain to process, and this is why the brain filters out all of the activity that is not necessary, such as clocks ticking or even traffic noise. If there is a change in the ear, such as an ear infection or even hearing loss, the amount of information which is sent to the brain, then changes. 

The brain responds by trying to get more information, in other words, tinnitus. Sometimes occasional tinnitus is noticed after periods of significant stress. Other people say that they are much more aware of the noises that they have in their ear when they have an ear infection or when they have a cold. Fortunately, tinnitus is never an indication of a serious disorder.

Seeing an Audiologist

It’s worth trying to see an audiologist if you are experiencing tinnitus. They will work with you to try and rule out any medical factors and they will also give you some information about the condition and how you can manage it. The main thing that you need to do is try and keep on doing things that you love. 

If you begin to live your life differently because you have tinnitus, then you will see it as being more of an issue than it is. Sure, you may have to do some things differently, such as reading with some background music on, but you need to make sure that you keep on doing those things nevertheless.

It will get better

When you first experience something like tinnitus, you may be naturally worried, and you may be very aware of the new sound. It’s natural for you to constantly monitor your body and if anything changes, you may become aware of these changes. Hearing tinnitus for the first time can be quite frightening as you may think that something is wrong or that it is going to have a huge impact on your life. It’s a new sensation, but you need to give yourself chance to adapt.

Most people find that their tinnitus does settle down when they have experienced this initial period without any treatment at all. This is normally referred to as being habituation. It’s very similar to walking into a room that has an air conditioner or a noisy fan. Initially it may seem loud but after a while, you may stop noticing it as much as you did. Tinnitus can often be the same, to begin with, it’s noticeable but as time goes on, you may begin to notice it less and less.

If you want to get some support with your tinnitus or if you want to see if you need a hearing test to help you to get to the root of your hearing issue then contact the Atlantic Audiology today at (401) 262-0170