Tinnitus is a condition that can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and in some cases, suicide. Because of the psychological distress that often accompanies this condition, I believe it is important to understand tinnitus and the current treatment options available. Let’s start by gaining a better understanding of tinnitus and how many people are affected by this condition.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus (pronounced ti-NIGHT-us or TIN-i-tus) is the perception of sound in the human ear when no external sound is present. More commonly it is known as “ringing in the ears.
Tinnitus is not a disease. It is a symptom that results from a wide range of underlying causes, most commonly associated with hearing loss. Tinnitus is a personal condition that can range from an occasional annoyance to a constant creating extreme frustration. It can have single or multiple tones with perceived volume ranging from subtle to shattering.
In severe cases, tinnitus can cause difficulty concentrating and sleeping, interfere with work and personal relationships, and result in psychological distress. At that level, it’s important to find a therapist who can suggest coping techniques to make tinnitus symptoms less bothersome.
How many people live with tinnitus?
Tinnitus is very common, affecting an estimated 50 million people in the United States.
For most, the condition is merely an annoyance. But those severe cases do exist. Of the 50 million people that suffer from tinnitus, two million report being so debilitated that they are not able to function on a day-to-day basis.
Can you imagine not being able to function in your everyday life? Because of the staggering statistics, I feel that it is important to understand tinnitus and the ways in which therapy can help those suffering with this condition.
In the next part of our series, we’ll look at some of the causes and symptoms of tinnitus.
Amanda Dempsey, MA MFT