1 February 2013 – Help coping with tinnitus

Posted on February 1, 2013 by AireAdmin

Find out how to get help if you suffer from tinnitus during a special open event being hosted by the audiology team at Airedale Hospital.

A senior audiologist will be on hand to talk about their tinnitus clinics, answer questions and give out information on Friday 8 February, between 1.30 – 4pm, in the audiology department. The drop-in session coincides with Tinnitus Awareness Week run by the British Tinnitus Association.

Last year Airedale audiologists wrote to local GPs to help raise awareness of the condition and let them know how they can refer patients directly to tinnitus management clinics.

Tinnitus is when people can hear a continual noise in their head, one or both ears – but there is no external cause. The type of noise varies, it may be continuous or come and go, it can be low or high pitched, for some people it’s a ‘whooshing noise, ringing, buzzing or very occasionally it can be a particular song’.

Around 10 percent of the population experience tinnitus and it affects all age groups. It is believed to be a neurological condition and there are many different triggers – it could be as a result of a head injury, hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, stress and anxiety, ear infections, medication, a viral infection or there could be no apparent reason for someone to develop it. Somesufferers also have other issues such as stress, depression or chronic pain.

The clinics at Airedale can provide help with loss of hearing, sound therapy, relaxation and referral to a specialist ear, nose and throat consultant if necessary.

“Providing patients with information and support about tinnitus can really make a difference to peoples’ lives and we try to help them live and cope with their tinnitus and dispel any negative associations.” said senior audiologist Katie Davenport, of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

“It must be very difficult to cope with never being able to enjoy silence and the worst time is usually at night when there is a lack of other noise. We help people to adjust by trying to always have some background noise to block out the sounds they hear such as the television, radio or relaxation sounds  – in a similar way that you get used to living near a train track or a motorway.”

The British Tinnitus Association, a registered charity which carries out research and raises awareness of the condition, runs a helpline on 0800 018 0527 and more information is available on www.tinnitus.org.uk

  • A 76 year-old Keighley man, who would prefer to be known simply as John, has had tinnitus for over 20 years.

The former salesman constantly hears a high pitched sound in his left ear, the condition came on suddenly and he has no idea what caused it.

“When I was told there was no cure with it I have just tried not to let it bother me and get on with my life. The most difficult time is when I’m in bed at night and it’s quiet as I’m a light sleeper anyway.

“I know some people have it so bad that they actually want to end their own life, but I’ve had it for such a long time now I’ve just got used to it.”

He went to see a consultant at Airedale Hospital and recently he was referred to the tinnitus clinic.

John added: “The staff who run the clinic were brilliant – they have been such a big help to me, I’ve now got two hearing aids and it has made a significant difference to my hearing. I lead a very active life and do lots of walking.”