Ask the expert

Malcolm

Hearing problem and tinnitus

I have had a problem with my ear or ears for just over 8 years. I have a hearing problem. And i have tinnitus. I have seen someone about my hearing problems but hearing aids were hopeless. He said I have something wrong with my middle ear or middle ears. My NHS doctor said that my ear drum had moved. I was wondering if I could get a diagnosis? And a possible solution to my problems?

18 March 2021

Tinnitus often occurs as one gets older because the ear becomes damaged due to excessive noise, the ageing process and possibly because of repeated ear infections. [British Tinnitus Association]

While there is no cure for tinnitus there are things that can be done to minimise the effect that it impacts you on day to day living.

In some instances hearing aids can help – but in this case unfortunately not.

The main way to deal with the issue of tinnitus is through coping and relaxation strategies, where focus is concentrated on listening to other natural sounds and relaxation techniques. [NHS, 2020]

Cognitive beavioural therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy can help with how to manage the symptoms and the way they affect you. [NHS, 2020]

Infections of the inner ear and also the build up of wax can make tinnitus worse.

You say that your GP thinks there is also something wrong with your ear. This may have resulted from infections occurring which have then caused infection to the mastoid bone or caused a build up of excess skin cells, which can then cause damage to the tiny bones in the inner ear. When this happens hearing loss is one of the side effects. [NHS, 2018]

It is possible that your ear drum has been perforated at some point. This usually heals within a few months but can also contribute to hearing loss. If the eardrum fails to repair, there is an operation that can be performed, which involves putting in a tissue graft to seal the hole. [NHS, 2020]

In relation to your hearing problems and seeking an investigation as to the possible causes we would encourage you to ask your GP for a referral to an ENT specialist as they can do investigations and hopefully provide answers for you.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

References and further resources

British Tinnitus Association, Potential causes of tinnitus. (Accessed 18 March 2021) 

NHS, 2018, Hearing Loss. (Accessed 18 March 2021)  

NHS, 2020, Tinnitus. (Accessed 18 March 2021) 

NHS, 2020, Perforated Eardrum. (Accessed 18 March 2021) 

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