Tinnitis is not the exclusive domain of the elderly.
Tinnitus is associated with deafness and can be helped by hearing aids, which is probably why many think of tinnitus as affecting just the elderly.
Sure, age-related hearing loss and exposure to loud noise are predisposing factors. However, according to the Australian Tinnitus Association, around 20-30% of people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives, at any age, and it is persistent in about 10% of Australians.
Australian Hearing hold regular workshops for tinnitus sufferers: this month’s meetings are November 23 (Bunbury) and November 30 (Busselton and Mandurah). Those with tinnitus or their carers can attend (phone 97921200) – sessions are free and most appropriate for those over 18 years. The technologies available and suggested lifestyle changes are discussed.
We know tinnitus is more common in people with a hearing loss or other ear problems but it can occur in people with normal hearing – annoying tinnitus can lead to fear, anxiety and depression, with frustration from poor concentration or hearing. How an individual thinks and feels about tinnitus is important.
From the doctor’s perspective, some medications can cause or worsen tinnitus (see www.tinnitus.asn.au) – aspirin, quinine, aminoglycoside antibiotics, diuretics and some cytotoxics are the most well-known. Other common suggestions for management include avoiding silence, doing things to keep calm and relaxed, and limiting caffeine. Removing excessive earwax can also help.
Patients can ask for online advice from an audiologist and get other information at www.hearing.com.au
As an aside, we are told celebrities that have suffered from tinnitus include Liza Minelli, Bob Dylan, Will.i.am, William Shatner and Barbara Streisand.