Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing a ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, buzzing, pulsing or whooshing sound with no external source. Most people experience tinnitus at one time or another – usually after noise exposure like attending a concert – but for some, it is persistent and bothersome. Tinnitus can occur in one or both ears and vary in severity. In about 90% of cases, tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss.
Getting Help for Your Tinnitus
While there is no cure for tinnitus, as it is a symptom of an underlying condition rather than a disease itself, there are a plethora of management options available. The first step to finding relief is to talk to an expert audiologist.
An audiologist will perform an exam and take your medical history, paying special attention to contributing factors like blood pressure, kidney function, medications, diet, allergies, stress, noise exposure and diseases of the auditory system.
Tinnitus often co-occurs with other conditions affecting the ears, including hearing loss, impacted earwax, ear infection, middle ear tumors, Meniere’s disease, vascular problems, circulation disorders and more.
How Is Tinnitus Measured?
Since you are the only one who experiences your unique tinnitus symptoms, it is impossible to measure it objectively. Instead, your audiologist will ask you a series of questions, including:
- Which ear is affected? Left, right or both?
- Is the sound constant or intermittent?
- Do you notice your symptoms more during certain times a day or during specific activities?
- Can you describe the sound of your tinnitus?
- Does the sound have a certain pitch? High or low?
- What is the volume of your tinnitus? Quiet or loud?
- Does the sound fluctuate or change?
- How does tinnitus affect your quality of life?
- Does your tinnitus impact your sleep, work or ability to concentrate?
- How bothersome is your tinnitus? Mild or debilitating?
Your audiologist will provide information about your tinnitus, including what is likely causing it and how to minimize symptoms. Many patients report feeling relieved just to know more about the condition, especially once serious underlying causes are ruled out.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a tinnitus evaluation, call the experts at Timpanogos Hearing & Balance today.