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Tinnitus is a conscious awareness of a sound in the ears or head that is not due to an external noise. Tinnitus usually arises as a result of the abnormal firing of nerve cells in the area of the brain which processes sound (neural synchrony). It can affect one or both ears, and be of a different nature, sound and intensity in either ear.
The main cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. We all lose our hearing to some extent during life.
There are many different trigger for tinnitus such as exposure to loud noise, ear or head injuries, a build-up of ear wax, diseases of the ear, ear infections and side effects of medication or a combination of these.
Patients in the acute stage of the condition often display high levels of anxiety. The central auditory system is influenced by the limbic system within the brain, which controls emotions and mental state. When a person is stressed, anxious or excited this can increase the awareness of tinnitus symptoms.
Primary care management is suitable for people who meet ALL of the following criteria: