Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking or hissing sound in your ears?
Do you hear this often or all the time?
Does the sound bother you a lot?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have tinnitus. Tinnitus therapy can quiet the noise in your ears and may be right for you. Contact us today.
Tinnitus (tin-NY-tus) is a common condition where a person experiences a ringing, rushing or buzzing in the ears. Tinnitus will not cause you to go deaf, but its presence may affect your daily activities. Our professionals can help recommend a course of action to deal with this persistent problem. Each person has an individual response to treatment; our goal is to work with you to relieve this condition.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus, a symptom associated with many forms of hearing problems. (It can also be a symptom of other health problems.)
Tinnitus is typically caused by:
- Hearing Loss: Most people who have tinnitus also have some kind of hearing loss.
- Loud Noise: Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Continued exposure can make the tinnitus and hearing loss become worse.
- Medication: More than 200 medicines, including aspirin, can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be the cause.
- Other potential causes: Allergies, tumors, and problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaw and neck can cause tinnitus.
What Should I do if I Have Tinnitus?
The first step is to call us and schedule a visit with one of our audiologists for an evaluation. A careful history and audiometric testing will determine the most likely causes and best treatment for your tinnitus.
There may be other medical issues behind the tinnitus, and it is important to rule out anything else that may affect your overall health. You may be referred to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor to complete the diagnosis.
Avoid Making Your Tinnitus Worse
Avoid anything that can increase the ringing in your ears, such as smoking, alcohol and loud noise. If you are a construction worker, an airport worker, a hunter, or if you are regularly exposed to loud noise at home or at work, wear ear plugs or special earmuffs to protect your hearing and keep your tinnitus from getting worse.
If it is hard for you to hear over your tinnitus, ask your friends and family to face you when they talk so you can see their faces. Seeing their expressions may help you understand them better. Ask people to speak louder but not shout. Also, tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly.
Types of Tinnitus Treatment
A careful review of your health history along with audiometric testing will identify which of the following is the right treatment option:
- Hearing Aids—Hearing aids create a dual benefit of enhancing hearing and masking or covering up the tinnitus. The majority of patients with tinnitus receive partial or complete relief from their tinnitus with the use of hearing aids.
- Maskers—Tinnitus maskers are small electronic devices that look like hearing aids and are tuned to generate sound that masks or covers up the tinnitus.
- Drug Therapy—Certain medicines may provide some relief from tinnitus. Nutritional supplements may also provide additional relief.
- Allergy Treatment—Allergies can exacerbate tinnitus. If you test positive for allergies treatment can have the dual effect of reducing the ringing in your ears and giving you a big boost in energy.
Tinnitus therapy works — talk to us and put an end to the ringing in your ears.
What to Expect for your Tinnitus Consultation
Preparing for your appointment
You will be asked to fill out questionnaires regarding your tinnitus and how it affects you and your quality of life.
Why this is important: Tinnitus affects each person very differently. Your responses on these forms provide information about the severity of the symptoms, when it bothers you, and how it affects you. Your Doctor of Audiology can then ask questions specific to your complaints to get a good understanding of how the tinnitus is affecting your quality of life.
We will discuss your tinnitus, stress, medications, hearing, balance, health conditions, and more. All of this information is pertinent to help us understand your symptom(s), make a diagnosis, and recommend the best solution for you.
Hearing and Tinnitus Evaluation
Often times, tinnitus may be a symptom of an underlying hearing loss. Completing an evaluation of your hearing is important to rule out hearing loss as a possible contributing factor to your tinnitus. A very slight hearing loss that may not be severe enough to cause difficulty understanding conversation could be enough to cause the symptom of tinnitus.
Why this is important: If there is a hearing loss present, it is important to first address the hearing loss prior to addressing tinnitus. For 60-70% of patients with both hearing loss and tinnitus, the use of hearing aids provides an improvement in their tinnitus.
The audiologist may complete an evaluation of your tinnitus to determine your tinnitus pitch (i.e., high or low) and the volume of your tinnitus (i.e., loud or soft). This subjective measure is the only way to evaluate tinnitus and provides helpful information for tinnitus treatment.
The results of the hearing and tinnitus evaluation are discussed with you immediately following the evaluation. Your Doctor of Audiology will discuss the nature of tinnitus, what affects it, available treatment options, at home management strategies, and will make appropriate medical referrals if necessary.
Why this is important: Counseling for tinnitus is the most important part of the appointment. Education regarding your tinnitus can provide some relief. You will have time to ask any questions you have about your tinnitus and the available treatment options. The goal of tinnitus counseling is to make sure that you have a good understanding of your tinnitus, what affects it, and what you and your Doctor of Audiology can do to help manage it.