Ringing in the ears, commonly known as tinnitus, is a sensation many of us have experienced at some point. It’s that persistent sound – a buzz, hum, or ringing – that seems to originate from within the ears. At North 49, we often get questions about tinnitus and if physiotherapy can help. So, let’s dive in and explore this condition and its possible solutions.

Understanding Tinnitus

Tinnitus isn’t as rare as one might think. In fact, it’s quite common. 10-25% of adults experience tinnitus on an ongoing basis. Most of us have also encountered those moments in a quiet room when a faint hum or buzzing becomes noticeable. But when it starts to impact our quality of life, we need to address it.

10 Common Reasons for Tinnitus

There are numerous reasons why tinnitus might occur:

  1. Noise exposure: Loud environments or prolonged exposure to loud sounds can lead to tinnitus.
  2. Age-related hearing loss: Gradual hearing loss with age can also cause ringing in the ears.
  3. Earwax blockage: Build-up of earwax can create discomfort and contribute to tinnitus.
  4. Medication side effects: Some medications list tinnitus as a potential side effect.
  5. Medical conditions: Issues like high blood pressure or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders might trigger tinnitus.
  6. Stress and anxiety: Mental health factors can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms.
  7. Head and neck injuries: Trauma to the head or neck region can lead to ringing in the ears.
  8. Jaw (TMD) problems: Problems with the jaw can sometimes cause or worsen tinnitus.
  9. Caffeine and certain foods: Lifestyle choices, like excessive caffeine consumption or specific foods, can influence tinnitus.
  10. Poor sleep or fatigue: Lack of quality sleep or fatigue may amplify tinnitus symptoms.

Can Physiotherapy Help?

While physiotherapy might not address all forms of tinnitus, it can be remarkably beneficial for certain cases. At North 49, we focus on determining if tinnitus or its components stem from the neck, jaw, or lifestyle choices. Surprisingly, something as seemingly innocent as clenching can trigger tinnitus.

What to Expect from Physiotherapy

During sessions, we aim to ascertain the extent to which these factors contribute to tinnitus. Sometimes, the resolution might be straightforward, requiring only a few sessions. Other times, it could be a complex combination of issues.

Managing Tinnitus

For those struggling with tinnitus, managing it can significantly improve quality of life. Simple strategies, such as background noise like a radio or a fan at night, can make tinnitus less noticeable. Additionally, hearing aids equipped to cancel out the ringing can be immensely helpful. There are even specialized radio stations that play background noise to ease tinnitus.

Seeking Help

Remember, it’s normal to have some level of tinnitus that the brain usually filters out. But when it starts affecting your life, seeking help is crucial. Physiotherapy can guide you, ruling in or out certain causes, managing specific factors, and making referrals to other healthcare professionals if necessary.

Bottom Line

Tinnitus is a common condition with various causes. Physiotherapy can be a valuable ally in addressing certain aspects of it, but a multidisciplinary approach might be needed for more complex cases. If tinnitus is interfering with your life, take the first step and get it checked out. Whether it’s physiotherapy or a referral to another specialist, finding solutions can vastly improve your well-being.

At North 49, we’re here to help you navigate the complexities of tinnitus and its potential connections to physiotherapy. If you’re experiencing ear pain, pressure, or hearing loss along with tinnitus, consulting your family physician or audiologist is advised. Remember, your journey toward addressing tinnitus starts with seeking guidance.

To book an Initial Assessment with one of our physiotherapists at North 49 click HERE.