Tinnitus is characterized by noises in the ear that don’t come from an external source. They can include whistling, ringing, crackling, popping, humming and various other sounds. Not only can tinnitus affect your hearing, but it can also affect you emotionally and may even cause you difficulty in sleeping. To determine whether your tinnitus is caused by hearing loss , your audiologist will put you through a series of typical hearing tests, along with a few that are more specific to evaluating tinnitus. They will start with a physical examination of your ears, checking to determine if there is excessive ear wax or an infection, which could cause hearing problems and temporary tinnitus symptoms. Then there are several types of tests used to measure what you can hear such as:
Once we evaluate the possible cause and severity of your tinnitus, we can address management. Generally, most patients will not need any medical treatment for their tinnitus. For patients who are greatly bothered by tinnitus, they may use some masking techniques such as listening to a fan or radio which would mask some of their tinnitus. If a hearing loss is identified, hearing aids are often recommended to help with hearing with the added benefit of masking the tinnitus.