How Quality Of Life Is Affected By Tinnitus

a woman experiencing slight ear discomfort

Tinnitus is an incredibly common condition that everyone will experience once in their lifetime. Most often, tinnitus creates a phantom sound that nobody else can hear. Tinnitus causes a buzzing, humming or ringing sound, typically due to prolonged exposure to loud sounds. This can happen by going to a concert or a loud environment like a sporting event, a club or bar, but it can also be caused by having the volume too high on your headphones. It can also occur because of clogged earwax, medication, unhealthy lifestyles and symptoms from other health issues such as a tumor. 

It's not always easy to avoid these loud sounds, which is what make tinnitus so common. Individuals spend so much of their lives immersed in noisy environments, whether it’s for work or pleasure. It can make it difficult to know when proper ear protection is required.

Temporary tinnitus usually lasts no more than 24 hours, but sometimes it can last up to a week. If it lasts longer than that, then you should consider scheduling an appointment with an audiologist. While tinnitus may just seem like an annoyance at first, it can get to the point where it becomes detrimental to your quality of life. Many people who have tinnitus for long periods of time try to ignore the sounds caused by tinnitus; for others, it can become both physically and mentally harmful.

The aspects of life that tinnitus can impact

There are a variety of ways that tinnitus can affect one's quality of life. It has the ability to affect a person’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Luckily, there are numerous ways to alleviate tinnitus symptoms and find the relief you need. 

This can include giving a patient a hearing aid with a masking feature that overrides the phantom sounds. Additionally, sound machines can also provide a masking sensation when trying to sleep or while showering. The audiologist may also provide suggestions on how your lifestyle can be changed, such as switching medications and limiting alcohol and tobacco. Not seeking treatment for tinnitus can greatly affect your life, including:

Interfering with sleeping

To have good health, peaceful and uninterrupted sleep is needed. Sleep is an important process to restoring and repairing the bodies functions – from rebuilding muscles to cognitive ability. Untreated tinnitus can cause your sleep patterns to waver, with many struggling to even fall asleep due to the quiet surroundings. If this continues, you may notice daily fatigue, problems concentrating and irritability. All of these can be prevented if treatment is sought for tinnitus.

Lack of focus

With tinnitus, it can make it physically and mentally draining to try to focus all day. Having to concentrate and maintain that focus throughout the day can make even the simplest tasks seem difficult to accomplish. This can add more stress which then will only exacerbate the symptoms above.

Affecting mental health

In addition to the impacts on your sleeping habits and ability to concentrate, untreated tinnitus can negatively alter your perception of day-to-day life. Many individuals notice symptoms of depression, bouts of irrational anger, feeling isolated and even anxiety due to the persistent sound. Overall, this can become very stressful for patients as they are struggling to sleep and make it through their daily tasks.

Hearing loss

One of the biggest signs that someone is going through hearing loss is the phantom buzzing, ringing or whooshing. Tinnitus does not cause hearing loss, but the two are heavily linked together. Hearing loss is only going to make it more difficult to communicate with others and navigate everyday life. This also can cause frustration and anxiety, which then can lead to social isolation. This is because many become self-conscious about having to ask people to repeat themselves or embarrassed about having to ask people to accommodate to their hearing problems.

Luckily, you don't have to go through having tinnitus alone. Going through life with untreated tinnitus will often lead to lower quality of life and much worse. There are treatments and ways to ease the symptom of tinnitus. An audiologist will help you out and will find ways to make living with tinnitus far more bearable. We have a host of different options we use to address your tinnitus symptoms and are happy to discuss these various methods with you.

To learn more about Associated Specialists in Hearing Disorders & Hearing Aids and how we address tinnitus, book an appointment with one of our friendly team members by calling (951) 778-0181.