You are experiencing ringing in the ears. And it’s making you feel quite anxious or depressed? Or perhaps you were already feeling a little depressed or anxious before the ringing began.
Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound which is unrelated to an external acoustic source. Some sufferers usually describe the noise as “ringing” or various hyperboles such as grinding, whistling, or clicking. In the past, the description of tinnitus was highly dependent on cultural factors or interpreted as sensitivity to the divine. Tinnitus is a widespread distressing symptom affecting 30-40% of the adult population causing significant distress. It is important to note that tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease – reflecting one or more underlying biological abnormalities. Several risk factors including advancing age, hearing loss, and exposure to loud noise have been connected to this condition.
Studies have demonstrated the close association between tinnitus and psychological disorders; the aim of clinical assessment is to determine the underlying factors that led to tinnitus. The diagnosis of tinnitus is largely dependent on a detailed clinical history, physical examination, and possible indicated laboratory investigations. Additionality, many patients with associated psychological distress will require various psychological evaluations in which perceptual, emotional, attentional, and behavioral parameters are considered.
Alcohol consumption has been listed as a risk factor for tinnitus, but the majority of results have not been statistically significant. There is a dearth of research on the connection between substance use and tinnitus, and the majority of findings are conflicting. Patients are still advised to refrain from using drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, due to their detrimental effects on overall health.
It causes distresses that lead to a deterioration in psychological well-being, and it may increase reversibly during times of poor psychological/mental state. Reducing tinnitus intensity has a direct effect on the quality of life of patients. It is interesting to note that tinnitus has a smaller impact on the quality of life of children. Tinnitus is common in children, but they rarely complain about it.
Psychotherapy: Tinnitus treatment is classified as medical or surgical; however, seeking the assistance of a psychologist in parallel is critical for a noticeable improvement. The most researched nonpharmacological treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It is the preferred treatment because it reduces anxiety and improves patients’ quality of life. Mindfulness and meditation lower the stress response state, lowering the distress associated with tinnitus.