Over 50 million Americans experience some form of tinnitus and roughly 20 million people struggle with bothersome, chronic tinnitus. Tinnitus is a sound perceived in the ear(s) or head when no external sounds are present. People perceive tinnitus many ways – ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing, and many other descriptions. This phantom perception of sound is not a disease; rather, it is typically a symptom of malfunction in the auditory system or brain.
Though tinnitus is not usually dangerous, it can be a symptom of another health problem or underlying condition and should be evaluated by an Audiologist or physician. Common causes of tinnitus include, but are not limited to: hearing loss, loud noise exposure, impacted ear wax, ototoxicity, Meniere’s disease, and ear infections. Tinnitus can cause many stressful side effects, including: fatigue, sleep problems, concentration difficulty, memory problems, depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Assessment: A comprehensive hearing evaluation is the starting point when tinnitus is identified because most individuals who have tinnitus also have hearing loss. A tinnitus assessment questionnaire is often administered by our Audiologists in order to help determine the functional impact the tinnitus has on an individual. Other medically related issues such as medications, lifestyle contributors, sleep disturbances, and loud noise exposure will be addressed. Further comprehensive tinnitus testing can be performed by our Audiologists to determine the pitch (frequency) and volume (intensity) of the tinnitus.
Treatment: At this time, there is no cure for chronic tinnitus, but there are many treatment and management options. Tinnitus treatment options may consist of: hearing aid use, hearing protection use, counseling, dietary changes, stress management, relaxation exercises, masking device use, and support groups. Audiologists are the only professionals who also work with hearing aids that are licensed to provide tinnitus management. The Audiologists at Mile High Hearing will create a customized tinnitus management plan in order to address individual needs.