Tinnitus is the name for hearing noises that are not caused by an outside source. It’s not usually a sign of any serious conditions and generally improves over time. There are treatments that can help.
Tinnitus can sound like: ringing, buzzing, whooshing, humming, hissing, throbbingmusic or singing.
You may hear these sounds in 1 or both ears, or in your head. They may come and go, or you might hear them all the time.
Tinnitus is one of the most common conditions that people experience – approximately one in eight UK adults will have persistent tinnitus. Interestingly, however, most people would say that it doesn’t cause them problems. Furthermore, when people do ‘suffer’ with tinnitus, the type and extent of the difficulties they experience varies from person to person. One thing that may help explain these differences is the level of stress you are under. If you have a high level of stress there is a greater chance that you will be troubled by your tinnitus.
What is stress?
Stress is experienced by nearly everyone at various times in their lives. Stress occurs when the demands on you are not matched by your resources, or in other words your biological, psychological or social capabilities.
Stress can happen when the demands are too high, such as when you have too much to do. It can also occur when the demands are too low, when for example you are have too little to keep you busy.
Contrary to popular belief, stress is not always bad for your health. A certain amount of stress or arousal can be positive and help you to focus on the task in hand. The release of stress-hormones can help our bodies to do certain things, such as tackling a dangerous situation or running away to a safe place. Therefore in the short term, stress may be necessary for you to function well. In the longer-term, however, prolonged adverse stress can be very uncomfortable for your body and your mind.
How to recognise the signs of stress
The symptoms of stress vary widely in different people, but here are some common signs of stress to look out for in your body, thinking and behaviour:
Signs of stress in your body
Quickened heart beat
Breathlessness or a change in your breathing, e.g. lots of yawning or sighing