Freephone helpline: 0800 018 0527
Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the head and/or
the ears which have no external source. It is not a
disease or illness; it is a symptom generated within the
auditory system. The noise may be in one or both ears,
or in the head, or it may be difficult to pinpoint its exact
location. The noise may be low, medium or high pitched.
There may be a single noise or
two or more components.
The noise may be continuous
or it may come and go.
Who gets tinnitus?
Experiences of tinnitus are
very common in all age groups,
especially following exposure
to loud noise.
About 1 in 8 of adults
in the UK have
What causes tinnitus?
The causes of tinnitus are still not
fully understood, but tinnitus can
be associated with:
The delicate hair cells in the inner
ear may reduce in number due
to ‘wear and tear’ as people age.
This gradual change can cause
hearing loss, which makes
tinnitus more noticeable as it is
not masked by external sound.
Exposure to loud noise
Hair cells can also be damaged
by exposure to loud noise,
which could generate tinnitus.
Stress and anxiety
It is not always clear whether
stress causes the onset of
tinnitus. However, tinnitus
may be more noticeable if
you are anxious or stressed.
Middle ear infections can
cause hearing loss and tinnitus.
Symptoms will normally be
temporary, but it is important
to have the underlying infection
treated by a GP.
Tinnitus is rarely an indication
of a serious disorder, but it is
wise to see your doctor if you
think you have it. Your GP will
be able to refer you to specialist
Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and
An ENT specialist will take
a medical history from you,
perform a clinical examination
and arrange for any tests, such
as hearing tests. You should
then be referred to the Audiology
service for help in managing
your tinnitus. There are several
strategies that can be very
helpful in managing the condition.
Finding out more about the
condition - especially that it
is very common and that you
are not alone - can make you
Techniques such as Cognitive
Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can
be helpful, either as a standalone
therapy or combined with
Correcting any hearing loss
If your tinnitus is accompanied
by any hearing loss, then trying
to correct this loss with hearing
aids is often very helpful.
If the noises seem louder at quiet
times, particularly during the
night, it may help to have some
environmental or natural sound
from a CD, a sound generator,
or even a fan or ticking clock in
the background. Some people
use in-ear sound generators.
Learning to relax is probably one
of the most useful things you can
do to help yourself. Those who
practice relaxation techniques
say they reduce the loudness
of their tinnitus and help them
become indifferent to it.
Mindfulness is a form of
meditation that is all about
learning to pay attention to our
experience in a specific way.
It has been proven to make
tinnitus less intrusive, to a point
where it is no longer a problem
Our vision is a world where no
one suffers from tinnitus. That
is a powerful statement and one
we believe is achievable. It is
achievable now to an extent, in
that there are management tools
and methods available to enable
some not to ‘suffer’. However, we
also want to find better ways to
manage tinnitus – and a cure.
We offer support and information
to people with tinnitus (and their
friends, family and carers) in
a number of different ways:
Take on Tinnitus
Tinnitus support groups
Tinnitus information events
Read on to find the right
ones for you!
Last year, we spoke to almost
9,000 people, either on the phone,
via web chat or by email, to offer
them support, advice and help.
Our helpline can give you clear
information about tinnitus,
signpost you to local support
services, offer you empathy,
understanding and hope.
CALL: 0800 018 0527
SMS: 07537 416841
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
(excluding bank holidays)
“I just wanted to say thank you to
the ladies and gentlemen at the
BTA helpline for their kindness
and support over the last weeks.
You gave me your time and
listened while I was in a very
Our team of friendly advisers
have many years of experience
in talking to people with tinnitus,
and you can speak in confidence.
No question is too large or too
small for us to answer!
Please note although we have
in-depth knowledge of tinnitus,
we are not medically qualified,
so we are not able to give
Our website is visited by over
900,000 people every year.
Possibly the most comprehensive
single source of tinnitus
information on the Internet,
we have sections to help you
understand more about tinnitus
and how to manage it, as well as
updates on the latest research
news, an interactive support
groups directory, details of our
events and campaigns, and an
online shop with products to help
Our website is designed to work
easily on all types of devices,
including smartphones and tablets,
so up-to-date, reliable tinnitus
information can always be
at your fingertips.
We have an extensive range
of leaflets on aspects of tinnitus
and related conditions, including
leaflets for children. Our helpline
can give you details of the range,
or they can be downloaded from
our website tinnitus.org.uk.
We offer them all in large print,
and some are available in audio
format. Four of our leaflets are
in Easy Read format with simple
text and illustrations.
Our leaflets carry the Information
Standard logo, which means we
have passed a rigorous
assessment to check that the
information we produce is clear,
accurate and up to date.
Take on tinnitus
takeontinnitus.co.uk is our
website aimed at people who have
just begun to experience tinnitus
– although it’s suitable for anyone
at any stage of living with it.
We know that tinnitus can be
frightening at first, and that it can
be difficult to know what to do to
help manage it effectively.
takeontinnitus.co.uk guides you
through some facts about tinnitus
and helps identify some simple
strategies to keep it under control.
Each module takes just 10-15
minutes to complete and includes
a range of interactive exercises,
video clips and self-tests.
“I really love the Take on
Tinnitus website, it’s a
Developed with tinnitus experts
and e-learning specialists,
with an initial taster session
and then has seven learning
modules covering :
• The fundamentals of tinnitus
• Hearing and tinnitus
• Benefits of using sound
• The link between tinnitus
• Sleep and tinnitus
• The benefits of talking about it
• Living your life with tinnitus
Our online forum
Our online forum is available 24
hours a day, 7 days a week to offer
you support from other people
with tinnitus. Forum members
understand what you are going
through, and can help support you
through the bad times – and will
celebrate with you on the good days!
“Knowing that I am not alone and
have the support of people I have
never met but who care!”
We have over 100 active support
groups around the country. We
can put you in touch with your
nearest one, or visit our website
Tinnitus information events
Our tinnitus information events
aim to reduce stress, confusion
and isolation; improve wellbeing;
and enable you to cope with your
The events feature talks from
tinnitus experts, as well as taster
sessions of helpful techniques
for tinnitus management.
For details of upcoming events,
“I got so much more from
today than from any other
Groups are attended by people
who are living with tinnitus,
and many people find that the
personal contact and sharing
experiences are very useful.
Did you know?
The British Tinnitus Association
is the only national UK charity
solely dedicated to supporting
people with tinnitus.
We are an independent charity
supporting thousands of people
who experience tinnitus and
advise medical professionals
from across the world. We are
the primary source of support
and information for people with
tinnitus in the UK, facilitating an
improved quality of life. We aim
to encourage prevention through
our educational programme and
to seek effective treatment for
tinnitus through a medical
As we receive no direct
government or NHS funding,
the support we provide can only
be offered with the help of our
generous donors and supporters.
Cost of services
100% of our work relies on
voluntary income. We need to
raise over £970,000 every year
to provide our crucial services
to people affected by tinnitus.
£15 can give someone the
emotional and practical support
they need via our confidential
£25 could provide 200 leaflets
to help tinnitus patients
£49 could pay for the training of
a tinnitus support group organiser
For more information about how
we are funded please call us on
0114 250 9933, email us at
email@example.com or visit
Donation figures correct at time of going to press.
Our members are at the heart
of our work
By becoming a member you’ll join a
growing group of people who play a
part in everything we do – and who
are determined to make sure that
no-one faces tinnitus alone.
Membership means you become part
of a mutually supportive community,
as well as being the first to find out
about the latest tinnitus research.
You’ll also receive some great
• Our exclusive membership
magazine, Quiet, three times a year
• A free gift to help focus the mind -
either a mindfulness colouring book
or origami kit (for new members and
Direct Debit sign ups)
• Our monthly e-newsletter, Focus
• 10% discount on products for
tinnitus available through our
• A complimentary place at our
annual tinnitus Expo
• Free sound therapy noise CDs -
a choice of white noise, brown
noise, pink noise or purple noise
• The chance to have your say
and to vote for our trustees
Individual membership is £20 a year
For more information about our
membership scheme please call us
on 0114 250 9933, email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Studies have shown that, over time, in most cases
tinnitus disappears completely or the noises reduce to a
manageable level as the brain loses interest and stops
listening for the signal. The time this takes varies from
person to person – but it does happen!
This leaflet is for information purposes only and is not a
substitute for medical advice – you should always see
your doctor and/or medical professional.
© British Tinnitus Association.
Version 4.0 Issued January 2020. To be reviewed by January 2023.
The British Tinnitus Association. Registered charity no: 1011145
Registered in England.