Ringing in your ears might not seem like a big deal— until it’s all you can focus on. There are a lot of different causes of ear ringing, but tinnitus can take a toll on your wellbeing when it goes untreated. For some, it’s simple ringing or hissing that comes and goes. For others, it can be constant and cause distress and problems sleeping. What’s important to know is that tinnitus is treatable with the right options and an experienced Doctor of Audiology.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a symptom, usually of an underlying concern, where you experience a ringing or buzzing sound in your head, even when there’s nothing external causing it. Although many people experience a ringing sound, it can sound different for each person—it can be louder or softer, higher or lower pitch, or even come and go at different times of the day. There are a lot of different causes of tinnitus, but some of the most common are health concerns, inner ear disorders, injuries, or even loud noise exposure.
What Happens During a Tinnitus Assessment?
During your personalized tinnitus assessment, our Doctors of Audiology will begin by discussing your symptoms and any factors that might contribute to it. To make sure that your treatment is as effective as possible, you should make sure that you can describe your tinnitus to our team, with factors like when you experience it, how long you’ve had symptoms, any changes that happen, and when it’s loudest.
You should also be ready to discuss your family history and any health concerns you have. Sometimes, tinnitus can be a symptom of other conditions or medications, so your Doctor of Audiology will want a complete picture of your health. Then, we’ll examine your ears for any physical anomalies or blockages that might be causing ear ringing.
Finally, we’ll perform a series of hearing tests to match the pitch and loudness of your tinnitus. This can sometimes give us an indication of a cause. It can also help us tailor the right treatment to you and your symptoms. We’ll also spend some time discussing how to manage your tinnitus and its emotional effects.
Why is Tinnitus Assessment & Treatment Important?
Tinnitus can seem like only a mild annoyance, but some people experience tinnitus to a degree that it interferes with their everyday activities and taxes their mental health. Along with interfering with the ability to focus or sleep, it can greatly increase symptoms of anxiety or depression. In turn, the emotional toll of tinnitus can then worsen the ringing.
Along with the above concerns, it’s extremely important to be screened for tinnitus because it can be a symptom of an underlying medical problem or health concern. Tinnitus can be the result of poor lifestyle choices like drinking, smoking, too much caffeine, or unhealthy diet. It can also be associated with conditions like allergies, diabetes, Meniere’s Disease, circulatory concerns, and thyroid conditions. This means your Doctor of Audiology should screen for these underlying conditions so that you can treat your tinnitus by addressing them.
Schedule an Appointment
Tinnitus doesn’t have to take a heavy toll on your everyday life. To learn more about how you can find relief from ear ringing, we invite you to meet with our Doctors of Audiology by calling our Livingston office or filling out our online form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes, tinnitus can be treated by addressing underlying conditions or changing your lifestyle (like avoiding emotional triggers and irritants, as well as managing stress). In some cases, though, tinnitus is best treated using hearing aids that can block the sound with the right pitch. That’s why it’s important that you can describe what you’re hearing with your tinnitus.
Most people experience tinnitus at some point, whether because of an underlying condition or even from a loud concert. Tinnitus effects about 50 million adults in the United States, and has varying amounts of severity.
It’s important to be careful with ear drops that you buy over the counter. If your tinnitus is caused by earwax buildup or impaction, then certain ear drops may be helpful in loosening up earwax and allowing it to drain. However, ear drops that promise to relieve tinnitus will likely not work. In most cases, you’ll find relief from treating the underlying causes of tinnitus rather than through at-home methods.