Tinnitus is usually described as a ringing in the ears. However, whooshing, hissing, whistling, buzzing and humming are other common sounds of tinnitus. Tinnitus results from a multitude of potential causes and treatment options are just as varied.
The first step in treating tinnitus is uncovering what may be causing it. One of the challenges in tinnitus evaluation and treatment is that everyone experiences it differently. Measuring a subjective experience is very difficult.
There are a few specific tests an audiologist may administer to help get a better understanding of the tinnitus you're experiencing. Here are some examples:
This test will help us to determine the approximate frequency of sound that you are hearing. For this exam, you will be asked to identify the pitch of your tinnitus as best as possible by comparing it to externally presented tones.
This will help us to quantify the level of the sound you are hearing, which could range from a whisper to a shout. It is more common for people to experience soft sounds than loud.
It can be used to determine perceived loudness, because the tinnitus is often perceived much louder than the decibel level that matches. On a scale from zero to 10, you'll be asked to scale the loudness. About 70 percent of patients will report a loudness value of six or higher.
Depending on the results of your hearing evaluation, you may get a recommendation for one of the following types of tinnitus treatment.
Although drugs cannot cure tinnitus, there are a few that will help suppress the symptoms you are experiencing. However, it's important to know that medications may come with side effects such as dry mouth, blurry vision and heart issues.
Tinnitus can be extremely frustrating and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure about your next steps. Remember that you are not alone - tinnitus, while not well-understood, is common. Make an appointment with our audiologists who are specialized in tinnitus treatment. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms in detail so you can get relief and regain your quality of life.