Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing different kinds of sound even though there is no actual sound that other people can hear. Sometimes it is mild but can occasionally be very disturbing causing difficulty sleeping, affecting mood or concentration. It is important to find out the cause for it (if there is a cause) particularly if is just on one side. The common causes of tinnitus will include causes at the level of the inner ear such as noise exposure, age associated hearing loss, Meniere’s syndrome or rare small benign slow growing tumours near the hearing nerve in the skull. Tinnitus may also less commonly be caused by conditions in the middle ear such as middle ear fluid or otosclerosis (a condition caused by abnormal bone growth in the middle ear). Some causes of tinnitus may be due to how blood is flowing generally in the body or just how blood is flowing in a vessel (or group of vessels) in the brain near the hearing organ (the cochlear). This commonly causes pulsatile tinnitus (i.e. rhythmic noises synchronous with the heart beat). This type of tinnitus may require different investigations. You are very likely to need to have a hearing test if you have tinnitus and this will be arranged at your appointment.
Treatment for tinnitus usually constitutes of using a wide range of mechanical devices to generate a more acceptable kind of noise which then drowns out the disturbing and irritating noise of the tinnitus. Counselling also helps a lot of people to come to terms with their tinnitus such that it becomes less irritable. These options can be discussed with Mr Olarinde.