Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the perception of sound that does not come from an external source. The type and quality of the sound can differ greatly. Sounds might include: ringing, buzzing, humming, hissing, rushing, whining, clicking or droning. Sound is usually heard in both ears or feels like it is coming from inside the head. It’s not unusual to hear tinnitus in only one ear; however, more investigation may be needed to understand why this is.

Tinnitus is not a disease or a condition, and it doesn't have an exact cause, although current research generally agrees that it is the product of physical or psychological changes. 

Tinnitus can also be rhythmical, this is known as pulsatile tinnitus or objective tinnitus. Unlike other causes of tinnitus, where there is no external sound or physical internal structure causing it, objective tinnitus is caused by the noises created by structures close to or within the ear and can be heard by others.

More about us

If you do have problems with Tinnitus, you may choose to have your appointment at one of the following locations:

  • Bideford Hospital
  • Holsworthy Hospital
  • North Devon District Hospital
  • Tiverton Hospital
  • Neetside Community Centre – Bude
  • South Molton Hospital

How to get a referral?

Ask your GP for a referral to the North Devon Audiology service.

Your appointment with us

Your first appointment will involve taking a history about your tinnitus, relevant hearing assessments and a discussion about the impact it is having on your life.  You can expect to be asked some detailed questions about the experience of tinnitus, for example:

Your specialist can help a patient build a treatment plan and help you find the best strategies to suit you. Further follow up appointments will be made as and when required.

More about Tinnitus

Tinnitus is generated within the pathway between the hearing parts of the brain and the nerve that connects the brain with the ear. The brain is usually good at ignoring unimportant signals such as background noise. Tinnitus is heard because of increased signals sent to the brain, or because the brain is not ignoring existing signals.

The brain pays attention to the tinnitus because it perceives the sound to be a threat. There are lots of reasons why this might happen that may not be related to the ear. Stress can also be the reason for tinnitus.

What can be done about tinnitus?

Tinnitus cannot be cured, but there are many ways to support you in managing its impact. Strategies for managing tinnitus involve using methods that help train your brain to think the sound is unimportant.  It is important to see the relationship between the physical, mental and emotional impact of tinnitus, and often understanding the condition is the first step toward finding tinnitus less intrusive.

Here are some examples of helpful methods. You can learn more about these by visiting https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/

  • Sound Enrichment
  • Sleep Improvement
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Mindfulness

The strategies mentioned above can be adapted by your Tinnitus specialist in helping with other problems such as Hyperacusis and Misophonia.

Helpful resources

Free Mindfulness Resources

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a type of meditation that can help treat depression and assist with anxiety, chronic pain management, ruminative thinking (going over and over things) and anhedonia (lack of joy in life).

There are a range of free resources to help you learn mindfulness techniques.

App

Free apps for a phone or mobile device which help with mindfulness and compassion:

  • Head Space
  • Smiling Mind
  • Stop Breathe Think

Audio Downloads

Free downloads of various mindfulness practices in mp3 format are available at :
www.freemindfulness.org

There are also sessions with a focus on compassion available at:
http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/

Books

  • Mindfulness: a practise guide to finding peace in a frantic world – Mark Williams and Danny Penman
  • The Mindful Way Through Depression – Williams, Teasdale, Segal, Kabat Zinn
  • Sane New World – Ruby Wax
  • Mindfulness For Health – Vidyamala Burch & Danny Penham
  • Full Catastrophe Living – Jon Kabat Zinn
  • The Mindful Way Workbook – Teasdale, Williams, Segal

Useful links

An introduction to mindfulness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqwHvnup6o

A guided 5 minute mindfulness practise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqwHvnvup6o

  • The Mental Health Foundation- Information about mindfulness, courses, resources and an online course that is highly thought of: bemindful.co.uk
  • Breathworks – an organisation which publishes resources and run courses around the country, particularly good using mindfulness with pain and illness: breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk
  • Headspace – information on mindfulness and events, and resources such as podcasts: getsomeheadspace.com

www.tinnitus.org.uk

www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk

www.takeontinntus.co.uk

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Last updated: February 03, 2023