7 things you need to know about tinnitus
Emily Broomhead
British Tinnitus Association
2nd February 2015
7 things you need to know about tinnitus

So this week, 2-8 February, is Tinnitus Awareness Week and at the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) we’ve been doing all we can to promote the week and what will be happening during it.

The main aim? To tell as many people as possible about tinnitus and the support available.

1. What is tinnitus? Well tinnitus is not a disease or an illness, it’s a symptom generated within a person's own auditory pathways. Although it’s often assumed that tinnitus occurs as a result of disease of the ears, this is often not the case. The precise cause of tinnitus is still not fully understood.

2. Experiences of tinnitus are common in all age groups, especially following exposure to loud noise; however, it’s unusual for it to be a major problem. It's widely believed that tinnitus is confined to the elderly but studies have shown it can occur at any age, even in young children.

3. Mild tinnitus is common ‑ about 10 percent of the population have it all the time and, in up to one percent of adults, this may affect the quality of their life.

4. Tinnitus is rarely an indication of a serious disorder, but it’s wise to see your doctor if you think you might have it. Should something treatable be causing it, you may be referred to a specialist. The BTA have details of services at local NHS hospitals across the UK, if you want to find out any more, give us a call on 0800 018 0527 or email [email protected].

5. Tinnitus may seem worse if you’re anxious or stressed and when it starts, particularly if it's suddenly, you may be frightened and your concentration or your sleep may be disturbed. Remember you can contact the BTA office in Sheffield and speak to one of the helpline advisers who have years of experience talking to people with tinnitus, or get in touch with a support group if there’s one in your area.

6. Many people say they notice tinnitus less when they are doing something. Keeping your mind occupied helps. If the noises seem louder at quiet times, particularly during the night, it may help to have soothing music or some other environmental or natural sound quietly on in the background. Details of devices and support can again be found on the BTA website and we also have a leaflet specifically for musicians at http://tinnitus.org.uk/information-for-musicians

7. You’ll probably feel better when you find out more about the condition ‑ it's very common and you're definitely not alone. There’s lots of information on the BTA’s website www.tinnitus.org.uk all written by experts in the field.

TAWFind out more about Tinnitus Awareness Week go to www.tinnitus.org.uk/TAW2015. There are details of events and displays and what’s happening during the week. If you want to raise more awareness during TAW then please make a mention on Twitter or Facebook and change your profile pic to the TAW logo. Every little bit of support really will make a big difference.