The word “tinnitus” finds its origin in ancient Greek and means “appears to hear” referring to the tinkling sound, like those of a bell.

It is estimated that in the Province of Quebec, more than 700,000 people, approximately 10 to 15% of the population, suffers from tinnitus. Even people with profound deafness can suffer from tinnitus.

The sounds heard by someone affected with tinnitus:

  • may vary in nature, such as the sound of bells, buzzing, sounds of waves, whistling, pulsating sounds;
  • can be associated with ringing, whistling, sound of boiling water, grinding;
  • may be heard occasionally or permanently; perceived in one or both ears or even diffuse “everywhere in the head”;
  • may vary in intensity and tone.

If you want more information on tinnitus, contact your Groupe Forget audioprosthetist at 1-888-368-3637 or locate the clinic nearest you. Following your first free consultation with one of our audioprosthetists, he or she may refer you to the nearest professional as required.

Causes and associated factors

Tinnitus can be described as the inadequate and extremely complex functioning of the auditory system where the brain will register stimuli as if the perceived sound came from the outside world. Tinnitus can be associated to :

  • diseases of the ear (otosclerosis, presence of ear wax, Ménière’s disease, tumor of the auditory nerve, etc);
  • problems with the metabolism (diabetes, hypertension, thyroid gland, cardiopulmonary problems);
  • side effects of medication;
  • exposure to loud noises, excessive decibels (discotheques, loud head-phones);
  • life habits (such as the abusive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, spicy meals) that can have an impact or increase tinnitus;
  • psychological issues such as anxiety, stress, depression or a disturbing event;
  • problems with the articulations of the jaw.

In addition, tinnitus can increase after a stressing situation, when you are nervous, tired, apprehensive or anxious.

TRICKS AND TIPS to reduce the inconvenience of tinnitus:

  • Learn to live with tinnitus by trying not to «listen» to them ;
  • Get informed on the subject;
  • Play them down ;
  • Consult a hearing health care professional ;
  • Include appealing relaxation activities in your daily routine ;
  • Listen to your favorite music or the radio, which will help «muffle» tinnitus ;
  • Wear your hearing aids if you have a hearing loss. The hearing aids amplify surrounding sounds, which will distract you from your tinnitus and help you forget it.

(Reference: Guide for health care professionals and personnel interacting with hearing-impaired adults and seniors, pages 21-24.)