Understanding Tinnitus

Understanding Tinnitus

It is estimated that 360,000 Canadians experience Tinnitus, 150,000 of which find it affects their quality of life (Canadian Tinnitus Association).

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. It is a symptom rather than a condition. While it seems the sound of Tinnitus is heard in the ear, it is actually produced in the brain.

The sound of Tinnitus may:

  • Be constant or periodic
  • Decrease and increase in intensity
  • Can be mild to debilitating
  • Vary in sound pattern (ringing, buzzing, swooshing, roaring, etc.)

Causes of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is not a condition but a symptom. It may be a symptom of:

  • Hearing loss
  • Ototoxic medication
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Ear infections
  • Ear wax
  • Head injury
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Sinus pressure/ nasal congestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Other medical conditions

Tips for Managing Your Tinnitus

The most effective treatment for Tinnitus symptoms is to treat the underlying cause, if possible. Unfortunately, most
causes of Tinnitus cannot be identified or remedied.

Some common types of Tinnitus management include:

  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Reducing Stress
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Masking (hearing aid program, sound conditioners, etc.)
  • Dietary restrictions (sodium, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, etc.)
  • Use Tinnitus management apps, such as the ones listed in this handout.

Audiologists and ENTs often work together in identifying the cause of the Tinnitus and in providing the treatment. A treatment that works for one person may not work for another.

Individuals may be interested in our Meniere’s & Tinnitus Resource Group.

Personal Stories

The experience of tinnitus can be very individual and unique. What helps can also be very individual and unique. But it can help to hear others experiences and their journey to living well with tinnitus.

Grant Etchegary has shared his story in this article The Trouble with Tinnitus.

In this article Grant talks about when his tinnitus began, the impacts it has had on his everyday life, treatments he has tried and what he found worked the best for him.



Understanding Meniere’s Disease

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 1000, or approximately 35,000 Canadians experience Meniere’s Disease.

What is Meniere’s Disease?


Mature woman holding her hand to her ear listening on a white backgroundMeniere’s Disease is a disorder of the inner ear that may affect balance, hearing and cause Tinnitus and/or a feeling of fullness in the ear. It affects males and females equally and the age of onset is usually between the ages of 40 and 60 years.

Characteristics of Meniere’s Disease:

  • Progressive hearing loss
  • Temporary hearing loss during episodes or attacks
  • Tinnitus (fluctuating)
  • Acute episodes or attacks of dizziness (vertigo) and nausea
  • Balance problems
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear (Aural fullness)


Causes of Meniere’s Disease

There is no known cause of Meniere’s Disease. A popular theory is that it is caused by an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear (endolymph).

Possible causes of abnormal fluid in the inner ear include:

  • Autoimmune reactions
  • Allergies
  • Viral infection
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Head trauma
  • Migraines
  • Improper drainage or blockage of fluid

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is usually made by an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT). There is no known cure for Meniere’s disease. Treatment usually focuses on relieving the symptoms of the disease.

Common treatments for managing the symptoms of Meniere’s Disease:

  • Dietary restrictions (caffeine, salt, etc.)
  • Behaviour changes (quit smoking, reduced alcohol, etc.)
  • Cognitive therapy and stress management
  • Pressure pulse treatment
  • Alternative medical therapies (acupuncture, herbal supplements, etc.)
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy
  • Hearing aid (to treat hearing loss)
  • Surgery
  • Educate yourself on the disease and treatments
  • Medications (for dizziness, anti-nauseates, fluid retention, injections, etc.)

Individuals may be interested in our Meniere’s & Tinnitus Resource Group.

Personal Stories

Meniere’s can be a difficult condition for other’s to understand if they have not experienced the symptoms first hand. Hearing about other people’s experience with Meniere’s who have been able to manage the symptoms and find ways to cope and stay positive can be very helpful.

Dinah Helpert shared her personal story about living with Meniere’s disease in this article Coping with Meniere’s Disease

Sherry Hudson also shared her experience living with both Meniere’s disease and Tinnitus in this article A Laughing Matter

Apps to Help With Tinnitus & Meniere’s

Click the header above to access a PDF of recommended apps for Tinnitus & Meniere’s.

Pre-Recorded Webinar about Tinnitus & Meniere’s

Below is a list of pre-recorded webinars from different guest speakers on Tinnitus and Meniere’s Disease. If you have an further questions please contact us and speak with a hearing loss support specialist.

Introduction to Tinnitus and Meniere’s Disease

In this webinar, Brian Marshall who is a long time volunteer with CHHA-NL Meniere’s and Tinnitus Resource Group, explains both conditions, commonly asked questions as well as his own personal experience living with both Meniere’s Disease and Tinnitus.

Mental Health Impacts from Meniere’s Disease and Tinnitus

In this webinar, mental health counselor Soraya Carrim-White shares how Meniere’s disease and tinnitus can impact on our mental health. She also shares helpful strategies to improve your mental health and coping skills with their conditions.





My Experiences Treating Tinnitus

In this webinar, Grant Etchegary shares his experiences with various Tinnitus treatments and what he found most helpful.

A Mindful Approach to Tinnitus

In this webinar, Dr. Tyler Richard explains and shares strategies on how you can use mindfulness to cope with tinnitus.

Have more Questions?

Book an appointment with a hearing loss support specialist. Appointments can be over the phone, in-person or by emai.

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