Top 5 myths about tinnitus busted

Tinnitus is largely misunderstood by the greater population, so we bust some of the top myths associated with the condition.

1. Myth: When your ears are ringing it means someone is talking about you.

Fact: An old wives’ tale suggests that when your ears are ringing, it means someone is talking about you. This is, in fact, tinnitus in its mildest form. Every one of us experiences tinnitus at some stage in our lives; some just experience more severe symptoms than others.

2. Myth: You can develop tinnitus from attending one loud concert.

Fact: You can’t develop severe tinnitus with ongoing symptoms from attending one or two concerts. You may develop some symptoms, but they will eventually go away. However, severe tinnitus symptoms may occur by attending many loud concerts without ear protection over a long period of time.

3. Myth: Tinnitus sufferers should just learn to live with it.

Fact: While there is no cure for tinnitus, it is important to acknowledge that the condition can be a real problem for people—it is not imaginary and some people are more troubled than others. Tinnitus can be treated, so the "just learn to live with it" attitude is now outdated. There is a greater understanding of what tinnitus is and how it is caused, and this has led to new ways of treating the condition and approaching its management.

4. Myth: Tinnitus symptoms indicate a more severe condition, such as a brain tumour.

Fact: Many people who begin to experience symptoms of tinnitus often self-diagnose, thinking something is seriously wrong. They start envisaging brain tumours or something sinister and put off seeing a doctor for fear of a terrifying result. It becomes a vicious cycle, as the stress and worry of their self-diagnosis puts them under even more stress—and that can actually make the tinnitus symptoms worse!

5. Myth: A constant whistling or ringing in the ears equates to madness.

Fact: Tinnitus sufferers often hear the constant pulsing of a vein or a ringing that mimics the beat of a song, so they think songs are playing in their heads and they are going mad. These are all symptoms of tinnitus, not madness, and with diagnosis and preventative measures, the effects can be managed.

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