Tinnitus: Ringing in the Ears
Tinnitus is a constant or intermittent ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing sounds in the ears or head, when no external noise source is present.
Many different conditions can cause tinnitus, including hearing loss, circulatory issues, and physical damage to the ear. The first step to determining the cause is a tinnitus evaluation. Finding the right treatment for ringing in the ears takes time and commitment.
Two Types of Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors – from antidepressant medications to hearing loss to Meniere’s disease. There are two types of tinnitus:
- Objective Tinnitus: This type of tinnitus is something that an audiologist can hear and document during an examination.
- Subjective Tinnitus: The majority of people have tinnitus that only they can hear. This is known as subjective tinnitus, which may be caused by hearing loss, cerumen (wax) in the ear canal, or medications.
A tinnitus evaluation is the first step to determine which type of tinnitus is present.
Because there are so many potential causes of tinnitus, searching for a diagnosis takes time. An audiologist will perform a hearing test and tinnitus evaluation. A full tinnitus evaluation will also identify the frequency/pitch of the tinnitus in both ears and start to determine what types of treatment may be beneficial. Before a final diagnosis is made, you may be referred for additional testing from other professionals who specialize in tinnitus (e.g. a dentist).
Types of Treatment for Ringing Ears
The best treatment for tinnitus will depend on the results of the tinnitus evaluation. Addressing an underlying medical problem may be enough; however, if your tinnitus is bothersome, occurs in only one ear, causes a change in lifestyle, or fluctuates, you may wish to consider treatment options, from counseling to sound therapy to tinnitus devices.
The best hearing aids for tinnitus can also treat hearing loss by amplifying ambient sounds to the point where the noise of tinnitus fades into the background.
If the ringing in your ears is interfering with your daily life, call Designer Audiology today at 301-854-1410.