Veterans Hearing Are Committed To Helping UK Veterans With Tinnitus.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a sound heard in the ear without there being a sound within the environment. The sound can be anything from a buzz to a whistle and I have even heard of a patient hearing a symphonic orchestra which she found quite disconcerting.
This is known as musical tinnitus and is usually occurs in older people with hearing loss and musical interest. It can be in one ear or two and sometimes difficult to pinpoint where with some clients taking a while to realise it is an internal noise and not external.
Can I get tinnitus?
Anybody and everybody can get tinnitus, it is very common, and people can even be born with tinnitus for no apparent reason.
Tinnitus can be associated with: hearing loss, with certain medication, associated with a blocked ear – either in the middle ear chamber or outer ear chamber with wax.
People are affected differently by tinnitus. Some people have it for years and aren’t bothered by it, however, the other end of the spectrum is some individuals are very upset by it and it can be debilitating.
Can I stop my tinnitus?
Because we don’t know for sure what the actual cause of tinnitus is, it is difficult to create a cure as there are so many reasons that can cause tinnitus. It isn’t an illness or a disease. However, there are solutions to certain causes such as the ear wax being removed, working with the stress levels in your body, or a middle ear issue which may be resolved, etc.
What should I do if I think I have tinnitus?
Initially, consult your GP or local audiologist who can perform some investigation. Your audiologist may have the equipment to further test very quickly which your GP cannot access without a referral to an ENT specialist which may take time. All the while you are waiting for your brain will begin to rehabilitate to the tinnitus, although initially, you may find the sounds quite upsetting and if you suffer from anxiety it may increase this.
It is a physiological response that you cannot control as it is the body’s natural fight or flight system working to potentially protect you. An audiologist can provide a report to give to your GP which will point your GP in the right direction to support you, and often the audiologist can help with tinnitus treatment once it is ruled out that there is no medical underlying condition to your tinnitus.
However, if you have unilateral tinnitus (tinnitus in one ear) and it isn’t one of the conditions that can be cured ie. Wax or middle ear issue, you are required to be seen by an ENT specialist to rule out any more serious underlying causes.
Will it ever get any better?
Yes. When you first hear tinnitus it can be quite frightening and alarming, and your brain will focus on the sound for a while just to ensure it is safe and that it won’t harm you. But with time, habituation will occur.
Habituation is when you hear a sound that eventually you lose ie a clock in a room that over time you don’t hear anymore unless you focus on it. The main thing is to try and stay calm, and seek professional advice to see if there is a solution for stopping the tinnitus and if not, a way to support you with it.
What can I do to improve my tinnitus now?
What do I do if I can’t sleep?
It’s not surprising with the wind howling in your ear in complete silence that you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep. Worrying about the tinnitus, the lack of sleep just isn’t conducive to relaxing and this will just make you anxious.
This is where coping mechanisms will help by learning to relax or calm your mind so take the time out to find out about these forms of support. Play relaxing music on a timer to give yourself time to get to sleep.
Avoid the obvious stimulants at night like coffee and alcohol or keep a notebook of when you drink this and how it affects your sleep with the tinnitus and start to get a feel for what affects you.
What therapies are available for tinnitus?
There are several different types of therapies that can help reduce the impact of tinnitus on your daily life, these include: CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), Mindfulness, TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy) all of which are helpful and can be found locally or by contacting the BTA.
Help Us Fit More Veterans!
Since becoming a charity, we have managed to fit over 70 veterans with top-class hearing aids! However, we still have more than 2,000 veterans who need our help in getting back to a normal standard of life after the hearing damage they received in their years of service. Any donations we receive are a huge help in the lives of our vets and we are eternally grateful for whatever you may be able to spare.
Proudly supporting those who serve!
UK Veterans Hearing Help (now the UK Veterans Hearing Foundation) received the Bronze Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in 2016, in 2019 we achieved Silver level and in 2020 we achieved the highest level Gold. The scheme provides an award for organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and armed forces community.