What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is an internal buzzing, ringing, or whooshing in the ears. Other symptoms include dizziness, vertigo, multiple pitched tones, and varied intensity.
This sensation is not a condition itself, but a symptom of other health concerns. Over 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus at varying levels of intensity, from occasional nuisance sounds to constant noises that negatively impact their quality of life.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be caused by a number of factors, from hearing loss or hearing infections to stress or medications.
Causes of Tinnitus include:
- Damage to hair cells, mechanisms that send auditory signals to your brain
- Head or ear trauma
- Age-related hearing loss
- Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)
- Blockages in the middle ear like wax, fluid, or tumors
- Ototoxic drugs – medications toxic to the ear – like diuretics and certain cancer medications
- Perforated or punctured eardrums
- Ear infections
Tinnitus Risk Factors
Risk factors vary among individuals, but may include:
- Exposure to loud noises
- High blood pressure
- Frequent ear infections
- Thyroid conditions
- Meniere’s disease
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
How Is Tinnitus Diagnosed?
A hearing evaluation is conducted to determine the cause of your tinnitus. We begin with an assessment that includes questions about your medical history, family history, and how tinnitus affects your daily life.
Tests may include movement of the eyes, jaw, and neck to identify underlying conditions. CT or MRI scans may also be prescribed to determine the cause of your tinnitus.
How Is Tinnitus Treated?
Our tinnitus management options to help regulate your symptoms and improve your quality of life, and involves treating the underlying condition. That may require the removal of excess earwax or switching medication.
Hearing aids are often employed to treat tinnitus as a noise suppressant. Hearing aids and masking devices can be used to detect a specific frequency and create white noise to suppress ringing sounds. Cognitive-behavioral counseling is another treatment option to help train your brain not to notice or react to tinnitus symptoms.
If you’re experiencing persistent tinnitus symptoms, schedule an evaluation with one of our audiologists in Chester, Glen Mills, and Media, PA. Contact us online or call 610.600.1005 for service information.