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Tinnitus: Do You Hear What I Hear?

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If you have sudden or chronic ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in your ears, you may be one of many Canadians experiencing a common condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus can be symptomatic of an underlying condition, most often with the ear, or it can be related to abnormal neurological activity. It is not usually life-threatening, but tinnitus can be life-changing. Keep reading to understand more about what it is and how an audiologist and hearing tests can help diagnose and treat it.  

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Do you hear bells ringing even when it isn’t Christmas? Is there a song only you can hear high above the trees or the roaring of the sea inside your ears? Or perhaps there is a hissing like a snake or a leaky balloon? Is there a whistling, chirping, or clicking inside your ears? Or do you experience a change in the level or quality of sound like a swirl? 

It’s alright. Many people do. In fact, according to Canadian Health Measures Surveys conducted between 2012 and 2015, an estimated 37% of Canadians had reported experiencing signs of tinnitus in the past year. That’s more than 9 million people from Calgary to St. John’s and beyond!   


Facts About Tinnitus 

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. It is the result of an underlying condition that causes you to perceive a sound that does not exist. Some of these conditions are: 

  • an ear injury 
  • trauma 
  • hearing loss 
  • exposure to loud sounds 
  • ear wax 
  • a disorder with the nervous system 

Every person with tinnitus experiences symptoms differently. They can also change from occurrence to occurrence. The sound events can be constant, intermittent, and/or sudden. 

There is no cure, but Soundwave Hearing Care’s specially trained Tinnitus Team of audiologists and hearing aid practitioners can provide effective and proven management protocols to help reduce the effects of tinnitus sounds and other negative effects.  Each member of our Tinnitus Team has obtained advanced training and certification in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), a personalized sound-based and habituation-based management therapy; TRT can also include hearing aids and other hearing loss management aids.  Our Tinnitus Team also can help guide you towards proven management protocols with other health care professions including:

  • behavioural interventions like CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy)  
  • acceptance and commitment therapy. 
  • educational counselling. 

It is possible – and frequent – to have symptoms of tinnitus and still live comfortably. 

Many things can be risk factors for higher levels of tinnitus: 

  1. headphone and earbud use 
  2. noise exposure 
  3. high blood pressure 
  4. arthritis  
  5. hearing loss 

According to StatsCan, one in five Canadians have tinnitus without hearing loss, but those who have hearing loss with tinnitus seek help from an audiologist for a hearing test and hearing aids twice as often as people with hearing loss alone.   

  1. Reports state that tinnitus can lead to poor mental health, mood disorders, low levels of well-being, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. This is the case for 7% of the 9 million Canadians who have tinnitus: the condition is serious enough to affect their sleep, concentration, and mood. 
  2. If your tinnitus lasts over a week, visit Soundwave Hearing Care to have your tinnitus and hearing  by one of our audiologists or hearing aid practitioners. Even if it isn’t overly bothersome, our audiologists and hearing aid practitioners can help you develop tools that can help you live even better with tinnitus. 
  3. Make friends with the Soundwave Hearing Care team of hearing care professionals, including audiologists and hearing aid practitioners and come for regular hearing tests.  With regular hearing tests, our audiologists and hearing care  team can detect if there are any changes to the symptoms and determine if there is a health-related cause for them.  

When to Seek Medical Attention 

While tinnitus is not dangerous on its own, it may indicate a more serious medical condition if it is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:  

  1. discharge from your ears  
  2. dizziness or nausea  
  3. pulsing in your ears that sounds like your heartbeat 

If you are experiencing those symptoms or are experiencing signs of tinnitus in only one ear, seeking medical attention is advised. 


Treat Tinnitus Audiologists in Calgary 

Professional audiologists at Soundwave Hearing Care in Calgary, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, and High River can help assess and treat your tinnitus through hearing tests and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), which is offered by our TRT-certified audiologist and hearing aid practitioners. Through their personalized program of audiological counselling and sound therapy, you will learn to identify and avoid tinnitus symptom triggers and reduce the impact of tinnitus symptoms on your daily life. 

Contact Soundwave Hearing Care in Calgary, Grande Prairie, or High River to book an appointment for a hearing test with our team of trained hearing professionals and to learn more about TRT. We look forward to helping you find a solution that will work for you.  

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.