Tinnitus information and support

Tinnitus: what is it?

Tinnitus is an auditory condition that causes a person to hear persistent sounds in one ear, two ears or in the head which are not present in the external environment. It can typically be heard as a ringing, buzzing, hissing or clicking noise.

How tinnitus can impact on individuals

Tinnitus can severely impact on a person’s ability to cope with normal life activities, such as working, engaging in conversations, concentrating and sleeping. Tinnitus can also lead to mental health issues including depression and anxiety.

Tinnitus is an invisible condition, and the noises do not cause pain. However, it is often difficult for people who do not suffer from the condition to appreciate the devastating nature of severe tinnitus. This condition can be difficult for an individual to cope with; in many cases, it can be extremely debilitating. Tinnitus has been found to commonly lead to irritability, distress and mood swings and these can also tend to manifest as anxiety disorders and depression.

Tinnitus sufferers in Tasmania

The number of tinnitus sufferers in Tasmania is estimated to be a significant proportion of the population: between 17-30% experience persistent tinnitus. Tinnitus is severe for 2% of the population and severely disturbs the way of life of 0.5-1% of the population (Hearing Link: 2010).

People with the condition can come from any age group, however tinnitus mostly affects those who are middle-aged or the elderly as a result of age related hearing loss or due to experiencing long-term exposure to loud and damaging noise levels throughout their lives, for instance, from exposure to unsafe noise levels in work contexts. Tinnitus sufferers are located in all areas of Tasmania, in cities as well as in rural or remote areas.

For more information about the condition, please read our Tinnitus Fact Sheet here.

Support for tinnitus sufferers

Many Tasmanians who suffer from tinnitus do not always have access to adequate support or are uncertain about whether or not they should seek help, as it is a common belief that ‘there is nothing that can be done’ and ‘you just have to learn to live with it.’

Hearing Link Tasmania works to dispel such myths by providing information to individuals who are affected by the condition, educating them on ways to manage their condition and informing them about support services that are currently available.

While there is no cure for tinnitus, sufferers can be taught specific techniques to successfully manage the condition. Research into the psychological impacts of tinnitus has found that without advice on how to cope with their condition, sufferers often struggle to ignore the sound in their ears and head. Instead they may program their brain to continually focus on the tinnitus and read it as an ever-present danger signal or problem. As described by the Tinnitus Association of Victoria, if this fearful pattern of thought continues “your mind becomes obsessed with the sound… thus maintaining your body and mind in a state of high alert” (Tinnitus Association of Victoria: 2008).

For more information about management techniques, check out our Tinnitus Management Fact Sheet here.

You can also visit the Tinnitus Association of Victoria website here.