Our Tinnitus Program
The goal of out program is to evaluate and help you habituate your tinnitus so it will no longer affect your daily life negatively.
The first step toward combating tinnitus is a hearing test. This can either be done here at our office, or provided by another audiologist you have seen in the past 6 months. After you hearing test is reviewed, our audiologist will determine if you are a candidate for our program. If approved as a candidate, intial couseling will be provided and we will set up future appointments to discuss potential treatments and solutions.
During your second appointment, our audiologist will walk you through various causes of tinnitus and the options for habituation. If you do decide to move forward with habituation, we will discuss the best options for you and create a habituation plan. The first step in habituation is to make it so your tinnitus is not the primary sound you hear, so solutions vary greatly depending on the patient and their specific concerns.
1. What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present. While it is commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus can manifest many different perceptions of sound, including buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing, and clicking. In some rare cases, tinnitus patients report hearing music. Tinnitus can be both an acute (temporary) condition or a chronic (ongoing) health malady.
2. What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a symptom of some other underlying health condition. In most cases, tinnitus is a sensorineural reaction in the brain to damage in the ear and auditory system. While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, there are roughly 200 different health disorders that can generate tinnitus as a symptom. Below is a list of some of the most commonly reported catalysts for tinnitus:
- Hearing Loss
- Middle-Ear Obstructions
- Head and Neck Trauma
- Psychiatric Dirorders
- Ototoxic drugs such as certain antibotics, cancer medications, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Other diseases and medical conditions
3. What type of testing is used to determine tinnitus?
There are a number of ways tinnitus is tested. We first look at a hearing test to determine if there is a clear marker for hearing loss related to hear-cell damage. DPOAEs are then preformed in order to show us the extent of hair-cell damage. Finally, tinnitus matching is used to characterize the tone and pitch of the sound you are hearing.
4. How is tinnitus treated?
Some types of tinnitus will require a long-term solution and others can be solved relatively quickly. If your tinnitus is caused earwax blockage this could be resolved quickly and easily. Alternately, if you are experiencing tinnitus due to inner ear damage or trauma, your road to recovery may be longer. Treatment at our office is accomplished through many different routes including sound therapy, hearing aids, masking, behavioral therapies, and general wellness counseling.