Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sounds in your ears or in your head when no such sounds are present in the world around you. It is often described as “ringing”, “whistling” or “buzzing” and may be continuous or intermittant.
Some people can hear their tinnitus only in quiet situations, but some can find it extremely bothersome or loud and it can affect their ability to concentrate or sleep. In the majority of cases the tinnitus is subjective meaning that only the person with tinnitus can hear it, but on very rare occasions tinnitus can be objective and others can hear it as well.
Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom usually caused by some damage in the hearing pathway from your ear to the brain. Tinnitus varies from one person to the next, being bothersome in some people and a mild nuisance to others. It can also be affected by ongoing noise exposure, certain foods, and medications, as well as stress and the general well-being of the individual.
The Tinnitus Cycle
Tinnitus can be a vicious cycle. You begin to hear the tinnitus, you then start attaching negative emotions to it causing worry and stress. Each time you subsequently hear your tinnitus you become more and more stressed which causes it to become louder. This, in turn, causes you to worry and stress more, which makes the tinnitus louder forming a vicious cycle of worry and stress which can make the tinnitus worse. A holistic approach to tinnitus treatment will help break this cycle.