Tinnitus symptoms: Can tinnitus make you go deaf? When to seek help

Will.i.am opens up about his struggle with tinnitus

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Tinnitus, which manifests as ringing or hissing in the ears, is a distressing condition one in 10 people experience in their lives. It is often temporary, but some are left with symptoms permanently. At times, sufferers feel like their tinnitus is getting worse. Experts hope to calm minds by breaking down how the condition works.

Can tinnitus make you go deaf?

Depending on the severity, tinnitus may sometimes interfere with one’s ability to hear other sounds.

Those with the condition will hear a sound which appears to emanate from their own head.

Efforts to plug ears or block out other sounds will often cause the experience to intensify.

According to the NHS, sufferers may hear the following types of sounds unprompted and at varying volumes:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Whooshing
  • Humming
  • Hissing
  • Throbbing
  • Music or singing

The sounds may remain constant, come and go or present in one or both ears.

Tinnitus has several potential causes, according to the NHS.

These include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Thyroid disorders, diabetes or multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Some medicines – including chemotherapy, antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin

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Tinnitus may often start after hearing loss, but it won’t cause more, according to experts.

Paul Jackson, head of audiology with Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, broke down links between the two conditions.

He told Express.co.uk tinnitus is not dangerous but could indicate a secondary medical condition.

He said: “Tinnitus is unrelated to hearing loss, it’s a separate and isolated issue.”

“As audiologists, what we look for is how tinnitus is presenting itself because, on some rare occasions, we have cause to refer patients for additional medical examinations.

“Unilateral tinnitus is when the condition is only present in one ear; this might be completely normal for the person living with it, but it could indicate a tumour in one part of the brain.

“Additionally, if the sound a person experiences is pulsatile – like a heartbeat – we would refer them to a specialist.

“Tinnitus can also indicate other issues with your health you may not have considered before, such as high blood pressure.

“So, if you think you’re experiencing tinnitus, you should speak to a health professional to get a diagnosis and also rule out any other health conditions.”

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