Tinnitus, from the Latin word ”tinnire,” meaning to ring or tinkle like a bell, is a hearing ailment that approximately 15% of people experience in a mild form at some stage of life. Tinnitus is the sensation of sound that is heard in one or both ears for which there's no external source.
The sounds originate within the ear and are described as ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing or whistling. Episodes of tinnitus may be intermittent or it can become a permanent problem.
Tinnitus is most common in the over 60's and is often linked to hearing loss, particularly related to ageing.
Unfortunately it has been shown that approximately 1 in 200 people have tinnitus so badly that it affects their ability to lead a normal life.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Noise in your ear, such as ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling or hissing.
The noise may . . .
- vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal
- be constant or come and go
- be present in one ear (unilaterally) or both ears (bilaterally)
- interfere with concentration or hearing
- cause sleep disturbance and interfere with concentration
Earwax build up and stress may worsen tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Most tinnitus is caused by a problem with the inner ear, which converts sounds to nerve signals which are carried to the brain, and decoded into sounds.
The auditory cells in the inner ear maintain an electrical charge and on the surface of each cell are fine hairs forming a fringe effect. These hairs move in relation to the pressure of incoming sound waves. The movement of the hair triggers the cell to discharge electricity through the auditory nerve and the brain interprets these signals as sound. If the delicate hairs are damaged in any way, they move randomly and are unable to hold their charge. The auditory cells then ”leak” random electrical impulses to the brain which is interpreted as noise.
Damage to auditory cells in your inner ear most commonly results from:
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis).
Noise-related damage to your inner ear resulting from excessive exposure to loud noise over a long period of time either in the home or workplace environments. Workers employed in noisy factories may be at more risk of developing tinnitus. Specific workers at risk from developing tinnitus as a result of occupational exposure to excess noise include those using welding equipment, pneumatic drills, chain saws, jackhammers, weapons, vacuum cleaners and power mowers.
Other less common causes of tinnitus may include: Long-term use of certain medications e.g. aspirin, antibiotics;Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear; Injury; Trauma to the head and / or neck; Disorders of the blood vessels e.g.atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, malformation of capillaries; Allergies; Diabetes; Ear wax build up; Meniere's disease; Tumours of the head and / or neck.
Claiming compensation for Tinnitus
In order to make a claim for occupational related tinnitus you will require a diagnosis of tinnitus from your doctor. If you have the symptoms of tinnitus make an appointment to see your GP. Your GP may undertake the tests or may refer you to a specialist doctor. It is usual for the doctor to take a complete medical history and undertake a physical exam that will include various tests of your hearing, balance and co-ordination.
If you have been diagnosed with industrial deafness and tinnitus as a result of noisy workplace conditions, we can help you.
Even if you have yet to go to the doctors, we can still advise you on whether you have a valid claim.
It is our aim to minimise any further stress and worry for you by ensuring that you receive the compensation that is rightly yours as swiftly and efficiently as possible.