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How Quality of Life is Affected by Tinnitus

a woman with some pain in her ear

Even those who are unaffected by hearing loss are affected by tinnitus from time to time. It's an irritating sound that comes across as a humming, a ringing, buzzing or even a clicking, for some. Many experience it whenever they walk out of a noisy environment like a live concert, bar or club, and onto a quiet street. In these cases, tinnitus is distracting and annoying, but temporary, going away within 24 hours most of the time. However, in some instances, tinnitus can be constant. It can be more than a temporary irritation and can actually be detrimental to quality of life.

Here are some of the ways in which tinnitus can affect people with hearing loss in their day-to-day lives. 

It can cause distraction and disrupt concentration

For those with difficult or high-powered jobs, tinnitus can be especially problematic. That irritating ringing and buzzing can be especially profound when stressed. It can prevent you from being able to concentrate, making you more prone to mistakes at work. What’s more, it can prevent your colleagues from being able to communicate with you clearly and effectively.

The distraction, disruption and miscommunication caused by tinnitus can have a significant impact on your working life. But it can also affect you in your home life, too. Imagine not being able to concentrate on reading a good book while you're relaxing in bed. Or not being able to follow the plot of a movie or TV show while you’re sitting on the sofa?

Over time, tinnitus is likely to affect your mood, especially in the following ways:

It can make you irritable, upset or depressed

Tinnitus can build a wall around you and prevent you from enjoying the company of those around you. It can drown out conversations, preventing you from being able to join in. It can make you stressed, angry and irritable, making you less pleasant for people to be around socially. And over time, it can even cause you to feel depressed as social interaction becomes a stressful and exhausting experience. 

It can cause you to become reclusive

Tinnitus can make even a pleasant conversation between friends seem exhaustive and hard to track. With that ever-present ringing in your ears, you can find it hard to follow the thread conversation, and as a result, you’re likely to nod along and hope that nobody asks you what you think. 

Needless to say, when social interaction gets harder, you’re less likely to want to subject yourself to it. As such, you can find yourself politely declining to participate more and more often. You may feel isolated and alienated and live a more reclusive lifestyle than you’d like. 

It can prevent you from getting the sleep your body needs

In a noisy environment, tinnitus can be irritating and distracting. In a quiet space, however, like your bedroom late at night, it can be practically roaring. It can prevent you from being able to relax and drift off to sleep. And over time, this can have a seriously negative impact on your general health. 

Sleep is extremely important. When we’re asleep, our bodies carry out all the essential repair and maintenance activities that help us repel and fight infections, help tissues damaged in exercise to grow back stronger and generally remain in good health.

Thus, those with tinnitus can be affected in every aspect of their health if they are unable to get a good night’s sleep.

How your audiologist can help

The good news is that there are a number of ways in which your audiologist can help to lessen the impact of tinnitus on your life. Here are just a few of the things they can do for you:

  • They can ensure that your ears are clean and free of blockages which can cause tinnitus
  • They can recommend a hearing aid which emits a frequency to help cancel out tinnitus
  • They can offer retraining therapy to help you to better block tinnitus out
  • They can recommend sound machines to use at night, which will help to negate the effects of tinnitus and help you to drift off gently to sleep.

At best, tinnitus can be a mild annoyance. But at worst it can affect your life in some surprisingly profound ways. But with the miracle of audiological tech, you can liberate yourself from its effects. To learn more, get in touch with us at EarTech Audiology at 801-399-9955.