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A Guide to Understanding Tinnitus

a woman with a headache

Alongside hearing loss, tinnitus is one of the most common health issues to affect people of ages and backgrounds. In fact, millions suffer from the condition on a daily basis. If you believe that you have tinnitus, visiting an audiologist is the only way to gain a clear diagnosis.

Before booking your appointment with the audiologist, here’s all you need to know about tinnitus including the signs, causes and possible treatments.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that is defined as experiencing sound in your ears and brain despite the lack of any external sound source. The sounds you perceive to hear can be characterized as buzzing, whistling, chiming, hissing, whirling, sizzling and associated noises. The sounds may be intermittent or continual while it can occur in one ear or both ears simultaneously.

While it’s hard to get accurate records due to the nature of the condition, it is believed that at least 10% of the population experience tinnitus.

Why do people get tinnitus?

The symptoms are actually caused by underlying health issues. The list of potential reasons includes but is not limited to:

  • An upshot of hearing loss, because the brain tries to fill in the blanks of what isn’t heard
  • A blockage caused by excessive earwax
  • A perforated eardrum
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Infections
  • Neurological disorders including acoustic neuroma

Whatever the source of tinnitus might be, a quick diagnosis is essential.

How will an audiologist diagnose tinnitus?

Tinnitus is something that only you can hear, which does make it difficult to identify. However, a number of tests are used to discover the types of sounds you hear along with the regularity in which you hear them. Moreover, the physical inspections can uncover the source of those problems.

Audiology examinations for tinnitus include sitting in a booth with headphones and pressing a button when the sounds played through the sound system match the types of sounds you hear during a bout of tinnitus. A host of additional tests can be utilized so that the audiologist can make the most accurate diagnosis and find the right type of treatment.

How can tinnitus be treated?

Given that tinnitus is often linked to hearing loss, it’s not uncommon for hearing aids to be among the most effective types of treatment and symptom management. Without curing the condition, hearing more external sounds can mask the internal sounds. A lot of patients find that hearing aids that offer white noise or play melodies are useful too.

Other tinnitus treatments include but are not limited to:

  • Sound therapy 
  • Reducing stress 
  • Avoiding alcohol or certain medications
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Earwax removal

Each case of tinnitus is different, which is why any treatment should be personalized and tailored to the individual. Meanwhile, precautions built to prevent exposure to overly loud noises can be extremely useful too.

Book an appointment today

Whether tinnitus symptoms have recently surfaced or are an ongoing issue, visiting the audiologist is the first step towards managing the condition in style. Make it happen by calling us today.