Living with tinnitus Ver 4.1

Living with tinnitus has been produced to give an overview of what tinnitus is, the management techniques that can be used to conquer it, and the resources that the BTA have to offer. The leaflet covers: What is tinnitus? What causes tinnitus? Treatment options How we can help Take on tinnitus It ends with the reassuring message: It does get better

Living with tinnitus has been produced to give an overview of what tinnitus is, the management techniques that can be used to conquer it, and the resources that the BTA have to offer.

The leaflet covers:

What is tinnitus?
What causes tinnitus?
Treatment options
How we can help
Take on tinnitus

It ends with the reassuring message:

It does get better


Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.




Freephone helpline: 0800 018 0527

Text/SMS: 07537 416841





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

permanent tinnitus.

What causes tinnitus?

The causes of tinnitus are still not

fully understood, but tinnitus can

be associated with:

Hearing loss

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.

Ear infections

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.

Treatment options

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

Audiology services.

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

feel better.


Techniques such as Cognitive

Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can

be helpful, either as a standalone

therapy or combined with

sound therapy.

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.

Sound therapy

If the noises seem louder at quiet

times, such as at night, it may

help to have some environmental

or natural sound from an app, 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

for people.



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:

Freephone helpline

Web chat

Email support

SMS chat


Information leaflets

Take on Tinnitus

Tinnitus support groups

Online forum

Tinnitus information events

Products for tinnitus

Read on to find the right

ones for you!

Our Tinnitus Support Team

Last year, we spoke to over 9,500

people, either on the phone, via

web chat or by email, to offer them

support, advice and help.

Our Tinnitus Support Team can

give you clear information about

tinnitus, signpost you to local

support services, offer you

empathy, understanding and hope.

Call: 0800 018 0527

Webchat: tinnitus.org.uk

SMS: 07537 416841

Email: helpline@tinnitus.org.uk

Monday to Friday, 9am to 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

distressed state.”

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

medical advice.

Our website


Our website is visited by over 1.3

million 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 you.

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.


Our information


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 are written by experts

and are rigorously checked and

assessed to make sure that our

information is clear, accurate and

up to date.

Take on Tinnitus

takeontinnitus.co.uk is our free

tinnitus e-learning programme. It

will guide you through some facts

about tinnitus and help you with

some simple strategies to keep it

under control.

Developed with tinnitus experts

and e-learning specialists,

takeontinnitus.co.uk starts

with an initial taster session

and then has seven learning

modules covering:

• The fundamentals of tinnitus

• Hearing and tinnitus

• Benefits of using sound

• Tinnitus and relaxation

• Sleep and tinnitus

• The benefits of talking about it

• Living your life with tinnitus

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

brilliant resource”



for tinnitus

We have carefully selected a small

range of products suitable for

people with tinnitus to help you

manage your condition or to

protect your hearing. These include

sound therapy systems, pillow

speakers, ear plugs and

headphones for safe listening. We

are constantly working closely

with partners to bring you these at

specially negotiated prices.

You can find out more at



Our online forum

Our online forum is available 24

hours a day, seven days a week to

give you the chance to talk to

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!”

Support groups

We have around 115 active

support groups around the

country. We also offer free online

tinnitus support groups.

To find one for you, visit our

website tinnitus.org.uk/groups

Tinnitus information events

Our tinnitus information events

aim to reduce stress, confusion

and isolation; improve wellbeing;

and enable you to cope with your

tinnitus better.

We offer events in different

formats, including workshops and

webinars. They are led by tinnitus

experts and will cover topics such

as tinnitus management,

mindfulness and getting the

best from an appointment.

For details of upcoming events,

see tinnitus.org.uk

“I got so much more from

today than from any other

medical professional”

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

research programme.

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 almost £1 million 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

freephone helpline

£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

info@tinnitus.org.uk 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

membership benefits.

Members receive

• Our exclusive membership

magazine, Quiet, three times a year

• Our monthly e-newsletter, Focus

• A free gift to help focus the mind

(for new members)

• Free sound therapy noise CDs -

a choice of white noise, brown

noise, pink noise or purple noise

• Discount on products for tinnitus

• A complimentary place at our

annual Tinnitus Expo

• 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

info@tinnitus.org.uk or visit



a member





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 4.1 Issued December 2020. To be reviewed by December 2023.

The British Tinnitus Association. Registered charity no: 1011145

Registered in England.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!