NIGHT clubs, pubs and live music are all back on the cards following months of closures due to Covid-19.
We're all too familiar with the ringing noise that loud music or chatter can leave in our ears, but what happens when the irritating hum in your head just won't go away?
A ringing, hissing or buzzing in the ear is known as tinnitus and around 10 per cent of adults in the UK are thought to suffer with the condition.
While it's a common condition, there is another less-understood condition that a smaller proportion of Brits can also experience called The Hum.
The Hum happens when people experience a low-frequency sound.
It is thought around 4 per cent of the world’s population experience The Hum.
Gordon Harrison, Specsavers chief audiologist, explains more about the phenomenon, and what can be done to help.
What causes The Hum?
Gordon says: "This is always an interesting question, but it can never be put down to just one answer.
"Of course, there can be a background electrical hum from certain devices such as fridges and older TVs, but usually they will only be heard when you are in the vicinity of the device.
"Most people will habituate to them as they are generally not interesting and not threatening."
He explained that if you are put in an anechoic chamber (a room designed to completely absorb reflections of either sounds or electromagnetic waves) many people report hearing a hum from their ears which is different to a more traditional sound.
Gordon added: "The ears can generate sounds of their own, known as otoacoustic emission, that can be measured – although you would not expect people to hear these sounds in normal life."
Another response, Gordon says, is that some people actually tune in to specific sounds.
He added: "This is usually linked to their fight or flight reflex where once a sound is noticed an explanation is sought.
"If this does not happen, in some instances the person will get more anxious or concerned ad the body’s endorphin response can increase stress levels."
How to help The Hum
While it might seem obvious – if you are experiencing any issues with your ears which affect how well you can hear then you should go and get a hearing assessment.
Audiologists will be able to discuss your specific needs, but you can also speak to your GP.
If you do chose to speak to an audiologist, after your test you will be given specific individual advice to meet your hearing needs.
Gordon added: "Similar to tinnitus, people who hear ‘the hum’ can find that sound therapy such as using background noise can help to reduce the perceived affect.
"Relaxation techniques and CBT can also be beneficial too."
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is a type of talking therapy, which aims to help people manage their problems by changing the way they think.
The therapy is based on the concept that thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all interconnected – and negative thoughts can trap you in a vicious cycle.
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