Tinnitus can be described as the perception of sound such as ringing, buzzing, whooshing, whistling or a musical hallucination either in one or both ears or in the head in the absence of any external sounds.
Tinnitus can have many causes including natural hearing impairment, certain medications and most commonly noise-induced hearing loss. It is not a disease but can be a symptom of a range of underlying causes including ear infections, foreign objects, wax and fluid built up in the ear.
Tinnitus can also be associated with other hearing problems such as hyperacusis which is an over-sensitivity to certain frequencies of sound. Pulsatile and/or unilateral (one-sided) Tinnitus should always be further investigated. Stress can exacerbate Tinnitus.
It is important that clients with troublesome Tinnitus receive reassurance and encouragement in the early stages, as well as information to aid understanding.