Although it has been around for years, 2018 will see Tinnitus Week go global. Organisations from around the world will join forces to raise awareness of this poorly-understood condition. The word “Tinnitus” derives from the Latin word “tinnīre” meaning “to ring”.
What is Tinnitus?
One of the least understood conditions of the ear, tinnitus is a condition where the sufferer hears a constant noise in one or both ears. We typically believe that it sounds like a bell ringing but it can also be an inexplicable clicking, roaring like rushing water, or hissing. Sometimes, the sufferer claims to hear voices or music. There is no cure for tinnitus and it is rarely considered a medical condition in and of itself, but as a symptom of other medical problems. Sometimes, sufferers “feel” noises in their head rather than hearing it in their ears.
Potential Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be:
• Permanent following noise-induced hearing loss (too much loud music)
• Temporary during and shortly after an ear infection
• Caused by too much earwax that goes away once cleared
Sometimes, it’s a symptom of conditions unrelated to the ear such as heart disease or problems with the blood and everything from too max ear way in the ear all the way up to a brain tumour. Some evidence suggests it can be brought on with stress and anxiety and therefore may be a symptom of associated blood pressure.
Diagnosis is usually made with a questionnaire and supported by an examination of the patient’s medical history or using technology such as MRI to determine if there is a physical cause.
At present, there is no treatment or medication that can reduce or eliminate tinnitus. Sometimes it will clear up on its own (with correction of the external medical condition). Some 45% of the population has experienced it or will do so during a lifetime. Typically, it permanently affects between 10–15% of people in the western world. In most cases, it is temporary and goes away naturally after the causative medical condition disappears. However, it may linger for some time afterwards (especially in the case of an ear infection). It’s a critical problem in only 1-2% of people. Severity is graded from “slight” at the lowest grade to “catastrophic” at the highest end of the scale.
There is presently no cure for Tinnitus but there are things you can do to protect yourself if you don’t already have it or don’t want it to get worse.
• Use earplugs in loud places such as bars, nightclubs, or concert halls. Avoid standing next to loud speakers and cover up when too close. If your ears are buzzing at the end of the night, the music was too loud
• Avoid going too deep with cotton buds. Your ears evolved to be self-cleaning, the waxy deposits they eject is part of that process. Too much cleaning can lead to accidental damage so restrict their use to just inside the ear canal
Tinnitus Week “Thunderclap” 2018 Campaign
This year, the event is focusing specifically on celebrating the coming together of the international community. Tinnitus is still poorly understood and though it is debilitating for a relatively small number of people, the following organisations desire to shine a light on the potential causes and problems it can cause. They’re using social network sharing site Thunderclap to raise awareness of the condition and the week.
You too can get involved with Tinnitus Week whether you have the condition, have it, or know somebody who has. All you need to do is visit the dedicated Tinnitus Week website and see their link to the Thunder page. From there, you can share the message on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.