Tinnitus is the term used to describe the condition of having ringing, buzzing, or noise in the ear or originating from the head. The word tinnitus is Latin and literally means ringing.
What Tests Will Be Done?
The specific tests done during the evaluation will depend on the patient's age, and what is known already about their hearing status. These various tests will the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss, and the conditions of the ear canal and middle ear. The audiologist will also determine if the hearing loss is conductive (middle or outer ear problem) or sensorineural (inner ear problem or central processing difficulty of the brain).
A diagnostic audiologic evaluations includes pure-tone testing, bone-conduction testing, and speech testing.
Treating the Cause
Tinnitus can be caused by many things, and is usually a symptom of an underlying condition. The treatment for your particular tinnitus will depend on the condition that is causing it, the severity, any accompanying issues such as hearing loss, and the impact the tinnitus has on daily activities.
Common causes of tinnitus include:
- Hearing loss
- Exposure to loud noises
- Earwax buildup or blockages
- Abnormal bone growth in the ear
- Meniere's disease
- Stress and Depression
- Head or neck injuries
- Benign tumor of the cranial nerve
In order to find out the root cause of your tinnitus, your physician or hearing specialist will conduct a complete medical history, as well as a complete examination.
What Treatments are Available?
Depending on the cause of your tinnitus and other factors, several treatments are available, including medical options as well as alternative therapies.
A common treatment is acoustic therapy or sound therapy. Sound therapy makes use of sounds to help the brain re-focus and diminish the emotional impact of the tinnitus.