Tinnitus in depth

Although tinnitus is unique to each person, there are common features. The more we understand them, the better we can treat tinnitus.

Your tinnitus forecast– Getting better with treatment

You don’t just have to ‘learn to live with it’. Over time, you can significantly reduce how much distress tinnitus causes you. By gradually pushing it into the background, tinnitus will become a much smaller presence in your life.

Breaking the cycle of distress

The way you think about tinnitus can influence your experience of it. If your brain interprets the sound of tinnitus as something harmful to your wellbeing, or if you respond to tinnitus as a threat, you may become stressed and anxious.

In turn, this can make your tinnitus seem even more annoying. It’s a perfectly normal human reaction.

People who suffer from tinnitus often find that their symptoms initiate a cycle that keeps repeating itself.

By understanding this cycle we can intervene to stop the negative effects.

You first notice the tinnitus. You may notice it like you would notice a small, continous drip from the kitchen faucet

The sound becomes obtrusive.

It sets off a subconscious alarm in your brain

You have a negative emotional repsonse.

You are distressed.

You may have a physical repsonse (rapid hearthreat, muscle tension or sweaty palms) to your distress

Your body's response means you focus even more on the sound and it starts to sound worse.

Tinnitus and the brain

When we hear, sound waves travel through the ear canal to the middle ear and then onto the brain. Hair cells in the inner ear transform the sound waves into electrical signals, which then travel to the brain. The brain translates these signals into meaningful information — the sound we hear.

So what is it that creates the perception of sound where there is none?

Although the causes appear to vary, experts suspect that in many cases tinnitus results from damage to hair cells in the inner ear. Experts believe that the brain sometimes misinterprets the reduced signals from the ear, resulting in a perception of sound that isn’t really there. However, sometimes the cause is not related to inner-ear hair cells.

Find out more about the causes of hearing loss

The many causes of tinnitus

Tinnitus can originate from anywhere between the outer ear an the brain, and it can be both temporary and permanent. It is still uncertain exactly how tinnitus begins, but it can result from a variety of causes, just like hearing loss does. However, it can also occur for no apparent reason.

Find out more about the causes of hearing loss
  • Aflição emocional ou estresse

  • Exposição a sons altos

  • Lesões na cabeça e no pescoço

  • Processo natural de envelhecimento

  • Reação à medicações

  • Ruídos súbitos de impactos

Tinnitus dictionary

Amplification: The process … .. …

White noise: A static …