Tinnitus is the perception of sound experienced by a person as noise in the absence of external noise. Tinnitus is not a disease itself. The sound can be buzzing, hissing, whistling, roaring, ringing, humming or hissing. It can be continuous or occur intermittently. It may be pulsatile or non-pulsatile. Tinnitus does not have to dramatically affect your quality of life. You should avoid focussing too much attention on your tinnitus. Avoid excessive noise, find relaxation and stress management techniques that work for you.
Approximately, 17 to 20% of Australians suffer from some degree of tinnitus, varying from mild to severe. It is common for a person's to be affected by stress or tiredness.
Tinnitus can be triggerred along the auditory pathway. The majority of patients have tinnitus due to hearing loss at the cochlea or cochlear nerve level. PET scanning and functional MRI studies indicate that the loss of cochlear input to neurons in the central auditory pathways (such as occurs with cochlear hair cell damage due to ototoxicity, noise trauma or a lesion of the cochlear nerve) can result in abnormal neural activity in the auditory cortex causing tinnitus.
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