Tinnitus and hyperacusis
Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes. When you suffer from tinnitus, you perceive certain sounds that are generated by the nervous system of the ear and brain. The cause of tinnitus is not fully known and at present no medical treatment exists that can cure it. The sounds are often characterised as hissing, ringing, buzzing, humming or the like.
A large variety of methods exist to deal with tinnitus, the most common being the use of hearing aids or various sound generators, various types of psychological approaches, therapies etc. Widex offers hearing aids with a Zen system which can aid in the management of tinnitus.
Hyperacusis is when a person finds it very difficult to tolerate everyday sounds that most other people find perfectly tolerable and natural. These sounds can be traffic noise, kitchen sounds, doors closing, or even loud speech. A person may experience hyperacusis by itself or together with tinnitus. In the same way, a person with hyperacusis may or may not have a hearing loss.
Most professionals focus on two ways of reducing the experience of hyperacusis. One is to listen to soft and comfortable sounds in order to gradually improve the listener’s acceptance of sound levels, and the other is to avoid excessive use of earplugs. Professional counselling is necessary in both cases.