ALMOST 30% of people in the UK experience a ringing sensation in their ears at some point in their lives, but what if that sound never went away? Tinnitus is often an uncomfortable, irritating and isolating condition with currently one in 10 people having to live with this every day. That is why Specsavers audiologists are urging people to look after their hearing this Tinnitus Awareness Week (February 4-11).
Conor Fitzpatrick, Audiology Director of Victoria Square Belfast Specsavers says: ‘Tinnitus is very common and can occur at any age. Although it is more common in people who have a hearing loss or other ear problems it can also occur in people who don’t suffer with a hearing loss, particularly if they don’t look after their hearing.
‘People who work with loud noises should always make sure they are wearing hearing protection, especially those who work with loud music, loud machinery and those who are exposed to loud bangs or go clubbing frequently.
‘You also need to exercise caution when you’re wearing your headphones too, as you could be at risk of developing tinnitus. To stay safe you should never listen to your music above 60% volume and you should also give your ears a break every hour too.’
Conor suggests that if you start experiencing a ringing, buzzing, whizzing or humming sensation in your hearing you should make an appointment with your local Specsavers audiologist.
He says: ‘Your audiologist will be able to look in your ears and make sure there are no signs of excess wax or infection. There may be a possibility that you will need to be referred on to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.
‘While there is currently no cure for tinnitus, there are a number of measures you can take to make life more bearable. Hearing aids can be helpful particularly for those who already have some hearing loss and cognitive behavioural therapy can help too. Another thing that could prove to be helpful is the use of background noise in quiet situations. This could include sounds such as music, the radio or natural sounds in the environment.’
Specsavers recommends that those over the age of 55 should have their hearing checked every two years, and if you are concerned about your hearing make an appointment to see your Specsavers audiologist. To find out where your nearest Specsavers store is or to book a hearing check visitwww.specsavers.co.uk/hearing.