Tinnitus is a phantom perception of sound that is not from the environments. It is most often a subjective noise, meaning that only the person experiencing tinnitus can hear it. Many people describe tinnitus as buzzing, ringing, hissing, static, screeching, chirping, pulsing or roaring. About 50 million Americans experience tinnitus. It is important to remember is that nearly everyone will experience tinnitus at one time or other in his or her life , but it can affect people differently. Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes. Recent advances have been made in helping those affected by tinnitus. There is something that can be done – many can find relief!
Causes of Tinnitus:
- Hearing loss
- Ear/ Sinus infections
- Foreign objects or cerumen (wax) in the ear
- Nasal allergies which produce fluid drainage
- Noise exposure
- Injuries to the head
- Neck/shoulder pain and/or stiffness
- High doses of aspirin
- Cancer medications
- Malaria medications
- Cardiovascular disease
- Jaw Misalignment
*Certain disorders, such as hypo- or hyperthroidism, lyme disease, fibromyalgia, and thoracic outlet syndrome can have tinnitus as a symptom. When tinnitus is a symptom of another disorder or condition, treating the disorder may help alleviate the tinnitus. *Certain types of tumors – Rarely, people have a benign and slow-growing tumor on the auditory nerve. These tumors can cause tinnitus, deafness, facial paralysis, and loss of balance. Pulsing noises timed with one’s heart beat are generally vascular (bloodflow related) in nature or may signal a conductive hearing loss. An audiological examination followed by a medical exam by a primary physician or otolaryngologist may be necessary. See http://clearchoicerochester.com/Pulsing_Noises_In_the_Ears.php for more information. Irregular clicking noises may be a sign of middle ear muscle contractions. Again, this should be examined audiologically and medically, although the condition is typically benign.
Treatment is available to manage tinnitus! Since tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition, it is important to first identify and address the cause. As a result, the following steps are taken in our clinic.
- Comprehensive audiological evaluation assessing the function of the entire ear including the middle and inner ear regions. We utilize high-frequency audiometry and Otoacoustic Emissions to help detect early loss of inner ear function.
- Tinnitus evaluation to assess the pitch and loudness of the perceived sound. Loudness discomfort levels are measured in cases of poor loudness tolerance.
- We have specialized training and years of experience practicing Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). This technique can provide long-term relief by allowing the brain to learn to ignore the tinnitus sounds. There are devices available that can accelerate the process and bring faster relief in some patients.
- Some tinnitus patients require hearing amplification. Only a thorough diagnostic evaluation will let us know. Introducing the latest innovation in tinnitus treatment, the Serenade® by SoundCure! See the link on our homepage for more information. We are the exclusive provider of this groundbreaking technology in our region. This device puts more control into the hands of the patient than ever before.
The initial assessment/diagnostic evaluation is the first step in crafting a personalized long-term treatment plan for you.