Tinnitus is the sensation of a ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, whooshing or buzzing sound with no external source. Symptoms can affect one ear or both and range from a mild nuisance to a debilitating daily experience. Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus, unless the underlying condition can be identified and treated. However, there are many management options available.
The First Step Is Seeking Help
Audiologists are experts in conditions affecting the hearing and balance system, including tinnitus.
The audiologist will first ask you about your medical and family history. Factors that are commonly associated with tinnitus include high blood pressure, poor kidney function, ototoxic medications, poor diet, high stress levels and excessive noise exposure.
Tinnitus is often associated with other conditions of the ears, particularly hearing loss. Approximately 90% of people with tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss. Other associated ear disorders include impacted earwax, ear infections, Meniere’s disease, and middle ear tumors, among others.
How Do Audiologists Measure Tinnitus?
Since tinnitus is the perception of sound, it is impossible to measure it objectively. Instead, your audiologist will ask you a series of questions about the nature and severity of your symptoms, including:
- Which ear is affected? Right, left or both?
- Is the ringing constant or intermittent?
- Do you notice your tinnitus more during certain times of day or during specific activities?
- Can you describe the sounds you’re hearing?
- Does the sound have a certain pitch to it? High or low?
- What is the volume of your tinnitus? Quiet or loud?
- Does the sound change or fluctuate?
- Does tinnitus affect your quality of life? Your sleep, work or concentration?
- How bothersome is your tinnitus? Mild, moderate or severe?
Tinnitus Management Options
As stated previously, there is no cure for tinnitus, but there are many management options available. The best way to find relief is to identify and treat the underlying cause. This is not always possible, so supplementary methods are often necessary. In addition to addressing the underlying condition, treatment options include:
- White noise machines
- Hearing aids
- Antianxiety medications
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Support groups
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Victory Hearing & Balance Center today.