Are Your Ears Ringing?
Tinnitus is most commonly described as a sound of ringing in the ears. It is important to remember, though, that tinnitus also occurs in other forms of sound, including humming, hissing, whistling, and some people even describe it as a whooshing sound. There are multiple potential causes of tinnitus as well as several treatment options. The most common causes of tinnitus is hearing loss. Your first step toward relief should be scheduling a hearing test with a certified Audiologist.
Before receiving treatment for your tinnitus, it is pertinent that the root cause be identified. To pinpoint the cause, you will want to visit an experienced audiologist. An audiologist will likely ask you a wide range of questions to determine why you are suffering from tinnitus. Such questions will probably include:
- Which ear is causing you problems? If both ears, does one bother you more than the other?
- How loud is the sound you are hearing?
- How long have you noticed the issue?
- Does the problem come and go or is it continuous?
- Does the issue cause problems with your daily living habits?
- Do you feel a pulsating sensation?
- Does caffeine intake increase the problem?
- Do loud noises cause the problem to be worse?
- Does the sound ever change?
There are three types of test that an audiologist may perform to determine the severity of your tinnitus; these tests include:
- Pitch match test
- Loudness match test
- Visual analog scale
You should always receive professional treatment for your tinnitus problems. Hearing aids can often serve as a form of effective treatment that can remediate the issue. In fact, some hearing aids are designed specifically to counteract the tinnitus.
Hearing aids like the Starkey Halo 2 and Oticon OPN have tinnitus maskers in them that can be utilized when tinnitus is bothersome. These type of hearing aids can connect with an iPhone through Bluetooth and work to mask tinnitus by streaming sound straight from your phone to the hearing aids for relief.
In addition to hearing aids, there are also other forms of devices that are meant to suppress noise, therefore decreasing the severity of the tinnitus you suffer from. Worn the same as a hearing aid, these devices produce tonal beats, or in some instances a constant signal, to counteract the sounds you are hearing. To ensure the sounds you are hearing are effectively reduced or eliminated, the pitch match and loudness match tests are performed.
Another form of treatment for tinnitus is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, commonly referred to as TRT; this treatment method using cognitive behavioral therapy in conjunction with a masking device. A patient is trained how to ignore the tinnitus background noise that he or she is hearing. A free-standing white noise machine is another treatment method often recommended by professional audiologists as it allows white noise to cancel out the constant ringing, whooshing, or whistling sound the tinnitus is producing in your ears.
Dr. Bunker at Advanced Audiology uses specific hearing aids for tinnitus treatment. If you would like to learn more about hearing aids for tinnitus relief, schedule an appointment today.