Audiology

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is considered to be a noise or sound heard by a person that is not made by an external source. Noises can sound like ringing, buzzing, hissing, or roaring and may be heard in one or both ears. These noises may only occur occasionally or they can be constant. An estimated 22 million people suffer from tinnitus in the United States. Tinnitus is a symptom of a disease or illness affecting the auditory system, just as a stuffy nose is a symptom of a cold or other problem with the sinuses. Tinnitus is often a symptom of a hearing deficit, but may be caused by a number of other disorders such as:

  • Earwax or a foreign body in the ear canal
  • Ear or sinus infections
  • Vascular problems
  • Brain tumor
  • Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
  • Excessive exposure to loud noise
  • Conditions that affect the fluid balance of the hearing organ
  • Deterioration of the auditory nerve or pathways
  • Side effects of medications

While there is no specific cure for tinnitus, there are many treatments to manage and reduce the effects the tinnitus. A thorough tinnitus evaluation will provide the information necessary to determine the best treatment. Treatment may consist of:

  • Amplification/Hearing Aids
  • Sound Therapy (Soundcure/Neuromonics)
  • Biofeedback and other relaxation techniques
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy
  • Tinnitus maskers
  • Drug therapy
  • Lifestyle modifications

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