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Tinnitus, the unpleasant ringing that can make sufferers ill

In this article we will try to explain what Tinnitus is and how it can become a disease for people who suffer from it. Read on to find out more.

Tinnitus or tinnitus

The word tinnitus derives from the Latin verb tinnire, meaning to sound. This is because the experience of tinnitus is that of "a conscious perception of sound in the absence of an external auditory stimulus", i.e. a constant sound without an emitting source, which can be simple (a single tone or noise, often high frequency and shrill) or complex (multiple perceptions) and can vary markedly from moment to moment.

Tinnitus, the unpleasant ringing that can make sufferers ill

Although the word tinnitus is now commonly used, it has been observed that, in some languages, a variety of terms are used to describe the experience, always with negative connotations, such as buzzing, hissing, ringing or unpleasant noises. Not surprisingly, according to a study published in 'Frontiers in Neuroscience', the code "internal distress or irritation or intrusion" prevailed in the vocabulary of participants who experienced tinnitus.

Several of these terms have onomatopoeic qualities, in the sense that the word resembles the sound experience it describes. Each of the words beginning with tin have a high frequency and shrill quality. As such, the vocabulary of tinnitus can have different interpretations regarding its characteristics, severity and the distress this phantom sound can cause.

In any case, consideration of this terminology can help to understand patients' experiences.

Tinnitus, sufferers

It is estimated that between 12% and 30% of the adult population may suffer from this condition although the prevalence of more severe and annoying tinnitus is lower, reaching 5% in adults and 3% in children.

Although not always associated, in most cases this problem is accompanied by hearing loss and can also lead to serious problems such as sleep disorders, stress, anxiety or depression.

However, there is currently no cure for tinnitus and treatment is based on assessment and sound therapy.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

The causes of tinnitus are diverse and, in many cases, unknown. Among the most common are:


  • Hearing loss: Tinnitus is a common symptom of hearing loss, especially in the elderly.
  • Exposure to loud noises: Prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as explosions or loud music, can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, which can lead to tinnitus.
  • Accumulated earwax: Excess earwax in the ear can block the ear canal and cause tinnitus.
  • Diseases: Some diseases, such as Meniere's disease or otosclerosis, can cause tinnitus as a symptom.
  • Medications: Certain ototoxic medications, such as aspirin or some antibiotics, may cause tinnitus as a side effect.

How is tinnitus treated?

While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are several treatments that can help alleviate symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life. Among them are:

  • Sound therapy: This therapy consists of listening to external sounds, such as music or white noise, to help divert attention from the tinnitus.
  • Sound generating devices: These devices emit soft sounds that help mask tinnitus.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy helps patients learn to manage stress and anxiety, which can worsen tinnitus symptoms.
  • Medication: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to relieve tinnitus, such as anxiolytics or antidepressants.

Professional help

If you experience tinnitus, it is important to consult a physician or audiologist to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Sontec Hearing Centres are equipped with the latest technology in electromedical equipment and testing and evaluation procedures.

These independent clinics located in Fuengirola and La Cala de Mijas provide answers to all hearing-related problems thanks to professional, personalised attention and the most advanced technology.

When it comes to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy we have collaboration with a Psychology Clinic in Fuengirola Vivae Psychologists to help patients learn to manage stress and anxiety, which can worsen tinnitus symptoms.

For more information:

Sontec La Cala de Mijas 

Plaza del Bulevar, 26 B, 29649 Mijas | +34 952-467-675

Sontec Fuengirola

Calle Hermanos Pinzón 4, Edificio Florida II, Local 9ºA, 29640 Fuengirola | +34 952 667 402

Vivae Psychologists

Calle Capitán 12, Local 5, 29640 Fuengirola | +34 603 144 441

info@sontec.es | https://sontec.es

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