Tinnitus Assessment and Management

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head where no external source is present.

Tinnitus can be perceived in one or both ears or in the head. It is usually described as a ringing noise, but in some patients it takes the form of a high pitched whining, buzzing, hissing, humming, or whistling sound, or as ticking, clicking, roaring, “crickets” or “tree frogs” or “locusts”, tunes, songs, or beeping. It has also been described as a “whooshing” sound, as of wind or waves. The sound can also be a combination of sounds. Tinnitus can be intermittent or it can be continuous.

The exact physiological cause (or causes) of tinnitus is (are) not known. Some of the things which are known to trigger or worsen tinnitus are:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Wax build-up in the ear canal
  • Certain medications
  • Ear or sinus infections
  • Certain types of tumors
  • Head and neck trauma

Tinnitus assessment includes a comprehensive hearing assessment including otoacoustic emissions, tinnitus pitch and loudness matching, tinnitus questionnaires, and counseling time. The assessment will determine which other professionals should be involved in the case, such as Primary care physicians, Ear Nose and Throat physicians, Neurotologists, Psychologists, etc.

When tinnitus is linked to hearing loss, hearing aids/devices have proven to be one of the most used and successful ways to address tinnitus to decrease the perception. Remember tinnitus is not a disease, it is a symptom, and if linked to hearing loss, our main concern is your perception of it. If we can work to decrease this perception, minimizing it, then you would be able to continue with your activities without concerns, stress or the feeling of being overwhelmed due to this noise in your life.

 

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