Tinnitus and You
Watch our video below to learn more about tinnitus causes and treatments from Dr. Rachel Higginbotham, audiologist and tinnitus retraining therapist.
irreversible–but there are steps you can take to protect against
specific types of ear protection.
and robbed her of silence, a woman speaks about ear
protection and tinnitus.
Tinnitus testing and
While there is no cure for tinnitus, it can improve with treatment. The
first step is a full ear exam, including diagnostic testing to try and
pinpoint the underlying cause behind the tinnitus. Following a full
examination at our hearing clinic, our specialist can recommend a
personal treatment plan that may include special hearing aids,
sound therapy, or changes in diet and medication.
Can an audiologist diagnose tinnitus?
Yes! As part of a thorough examination, an audiologist or hearing care provider will evaluate the presence of tinnitus and hearing loss. They will complete a hearing and tinnitus examination as well as a review of history and symptoms to determine the likely source of your tinnitus.
Does tinnitus go away?
There is no universal tinnitus timeline. If the noise is new or occurs in spells of a few minutes at a time, it is possible for the tinnitus to gradually fade over time. If symptoms have been ongoing for months or years, the tinnitus is more likely to be permanent. Regardless, your hearing care provider can work with you to address symptoms, even with long-term tinnitus.
It is best to see a hearing care professional trained in tinnitus as soon as you suspect you might be facing tinnitus or hearing loss to determine the course of action suited to your needs.
What are the first signs of tinnitus?
Tinnitus perception can vary from person to person. It can start gradually or suddenly. The sound can be more like a tone, a hiss, or a roar. Make note of these characteristics of your tinnitus to discuss with your hearing care professional.
– Is the tinnitus in one or both ears – This can help your hearing care provider start to understand where the tinnitus is coming from.
– How long have you had the tinnitus – Is the tinnitus constant or intermittent? If it comes and goes, how long do you hear it when it you have an episode?
– What does it sound like – The pitch may help differentiate a cause of the tinnitus. Low pitches may suggest Meniere’s disease, while high pitched noises are usually the result of damage to the inner ear.
– Does the sound have a beat or rhythm – If the sound beats in time with your pulse, it may be a symptom of other more serious conditions.
– Hearing loss – While your hearing care provider will measure your hearing, you should always share whether you think you perceive difficulty hearing or understanding sounds around you.
What is the main cause of tinnitus?
Most tinnitus results from damage to hair cells within the inner ear. These hair cells convey electrical impulses about sound to the brain. Damage to these cells can be caused by exposure to loud sounds, certain medications, or genetics. Your hearing care professional should do a thorough review of your ear and medical history to determine the cause of your tinnitus.
Should I go to the doctor for tinnitus?
If you experience tinnitus, it’s always a good idea to get an evaluation from a hearing care provider trained in tinnitus. They can talk to you about treatment options as well as hearing protection.
Is there a test to diagnose tinnitus?
A tinnitus evaluation can measure the characteristics of your tinnitus. A hearing care provider will check your ears for obstructions, evaluate your middle ear function and hearing thresholds, complete pitch and loudness matching, and have you fill out questionnaires that assess how you are experiencing tinnitus. All of this together can determine what treatments will be best for you.
What is the best medicine for tinnitus?
Currently, there is no medicine to cure tinnitus. However, there are several good treatments depending on the cause of your tinnitus. For some, tinnitus can become highly disruptive–particularly if it interferes with sleep and quality of life–and so it’s best to consult a professional to find a solution that is right for you.
While it’s always best to consult with a hearing care provider to directly explore the options appropriate for you, some common tinnitus treatment options include:
– Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) – A trained professional will help retrain your brain to reduce or alleviate the reaction to tinnitus which will, in turn, reduce or alleviate the perception altogether.
– Hearing aids – By amplifying external sound, the brain has more to focus on than the tinnitus alone.
– Sound-masking devices – Table top and bedside sound machines can help reduce the impact of tinnitus, especially in quiet and at bedtime.
– Cognitive behavioral therapy – Many people with tinnitus find talk therapy helpful in learning to cope with their tinnitus and the depression, anxiety, and insomnia that may exacerbate it.