Tinnitus is a sound you may hearing in your ears which is not present externally in the environment. It is often described as a ringing, buzzing, roaring, pulsing, chirping, or a whooshing sound. Tinnitus may be heard in one or both of your ears. Tinnitus can manifest as an acute symptom lasting just a few days or a chronic or recurring symptom lasting weeks, months or years.
Tinnitus is very common and impacts more than 50 million Americans. Our team of Audiologists is equipped with many tools and strategies to help patients with tinnitus, but we first need to assess your condition.
Tinnitus is a symptom of a wide range of health conditions, and it can occasionally point to a more serious problem that needs professional medical attention. To best treat tinnitus it is important to determine what is causing your symptoms.
Conditions that may cause tinnitus include:
- Hearing loss
- Noise Exposure
- Certain Medications
- High Blood Pressure
- Excessive use of caffeine or tobacco products
- Head injury
- Wax buildup in the ear
- Viral Causes
What to Expect During an Evaluation
When evaluating a patient with tinnitus, we have several goals we hope to accomplish:
- Identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus symptoms
- Determine if your tinnitus is subjective or objective
- Evaluate how your tinnitus is affecting your ability to understand speech
During a tinnitus evaluation, an audiologist with typically administer:
- An in-depth review of your medical history
- A complete physical examination of your auditory system
- A pure tone audiometry test
- Speech reception and word recognition tests
- An otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test
- Additional test, studies and evaluations
Questionnaires your provider may have you take include:
- Tinnitus functional index
- Tinnitus handicap inventory
- Tinnitus and hearing survey
Because tinnitus can be challenging to characterize, questionnaires can help to identify causes that a patient may not have considered. The Tinnitus Functional Index is designed to identify the impact of tinnitus on areas from sleep to the ability to relax. The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory can help determine the perceived impact tinnitus has on a patient’s daily life.
Suppose we can determine a diagnosis and address the condition causing your tinnitus. In that case, we may also be able to treat that condition and relieve your symptoms, although tinnitus is not always treatable and may require management instead.
If we can’t identify a specific cause of your tinnitus, we will recommend other treatment options that can help you better manage and reduce your tinnitus symptoms.
Call Premier Medical Group for more information or to schedule an appointment.