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How Quality of Life is Affected by Tinnitus

a woman with pain in her ear

There is a wide range of hearing issues that are on the rise, and this includes tinnitus. Studies have shown that a higher percentage of people across the globe are affected by the condition, and that figure is only expected to rise in the future. While it’s more common in older adults, the increasing use of headphones and earphones has made it an even more prolific issue for younger people. There are, fortunately, some treatment options that can minimize the effects of the condition. If it’s left untreated, then people that have tinnitus can expect some negative consequences. Below, we take a look at some of the ways tinnitus can impact a person’s quality of life. 

Hearing difficulties

One of the most common things that people with tinnitus experience is hearing loss. Since the symptom of tinnitus is ringing in the ears, it can be harder to hear other sounds in the area. Depending on the severity of the condition, it could make it difficult to follow conversations, be though in social environments, or at meetings at work. It can be especially difficult to hear things in loud environments, such as on public transport or when at a restaurant. It’s not difficult to see how having trouble hearing can impact your quality of life, so it’s best to focus on improving your tinnitus issue as soon as possible. 

Hard to focus

Most people need silence if they’re going to work at their best, but if you’re experiencing tinnitus, then this might be difficult to do. People that have tinnitus often report finding it difficult to concentrate, especially on complex tasks. This can be frustrating, especially when you know that you have to deliver your best work for your company or as part of your studies. Sometimes even following conversations can be difficult if the ringing is especially loud. There are devices that can help to block out some of the noise in your ears, such as a sound machine -- this emits white noise and could be useful to have in your home office if that’s where you need to work.

Trouble sleeping

Another way that tinnitus can impact a person’s quality of life is with their sleep. If a person is going to be at their brilliant best, then they need to have a good night of rest under their belt. Alas, tinnitus can make this more difficult. Trying to sleep when you have tinnitus can be difficult because the condition is usually loudest when everything else is quiet. And it doesn’t take long for sleeping issues to have an impact on a person’s life -- even a few nights of tossing and turning will have an impact. Like we mentioned above for your home office, a sound machine that produces a low sound of white noise can help.

Emotional strain

It’s not easy living with a condition that impacts your quality of life. Over time, the stress and strain of living with this condition can begin to take its toll. You may find that you’re frustrated with the inability to follow conversations or concentrate as well as you used to. While you’re going through the treatment options, it’s important that people with tinnitus take steps to look after themselves. 

Treatment options

There’s no cure for tinnitus, not yet anyway, but there are treatment options that can make living with the condition easier to manage. One that we’ve already explained is a sound machine, which can cover the sound of the ringing. There are also hearing aids with masking features available – this works in principle the same as the sound machine, but the noise is emitted from a small device that’s located in your ear. Another effective treatment option is tinnitus retraining therapy. This is the process of retraining the brain so that it ignores the ringing in the ears. Earwax removal can also reduce the symptoms of tinnitus. 

There’s no reason to accept a condition that is impacting your quality of life. When it comes to things like tinnitus, it’s important to remember that there are always things that you can do. As we outlined above, there is a range of treatment options out there, which can make the condition easier to manage. It’s important that you’re working with an experienced and knowledgeable audiologist. If you’re experiencing tinnitus and you’re ready to do something about it, get in touch with The Speech & Hearing Center. You can give us a call at 423-622-6900.