Tinnitus, often described as a ringing in the ears, affects approximately one in five Americans. This perception of sound may affect one or both ears, and can range from a minor nuisance to a constant distraction. Tinnitus is considered a symptom rather than a disease and is usually the result of an underlying condition. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve the noise and improve your quality of life. The audiologists at Acadian Hearing and Balance Center are here to help.
Tinnitus can manifest as an acute symptom lasting just a few days, or a chronic or recurring symptom lasting weeks, months or years. It is often described as a ringing in the ears, but is also reported to sound like hissing, buzzing, roaring, sizzling, clicking or other noise. If you’re one of the five percent of Americans suffering from tinnitus that is “moderately to significantly annoying or bothersome” it’s a great idea to visit a hearing specialist for an evaluation. Our top team of audiologists is equipped with many tools and strategies to help patients with tinnitus, but first we need to assess your condition.
What to Expect During a Tinnitus Evaluation
There are several goals we hope to accomplish when we evaluate a tinnitus patient:
• Identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus symptoms.
• Determine if your tinnitus is subjective or objective.
• Evaluate how your tinnitus is affecting your speech reception.
• Assess whether you’re experiencing hyperacusis (sound sensitivity).
• Pinpoint the frequency and loudness of the sound you’re hearing.
Tinnitus is a symptom of a wide range of health conditions, and it can occasionally point to a more serious problem that needs professional medical attention. This is why trying to identify a cause is important, even though it may not be possible. Subjective tinnitus – meaning tinnitus only you can hear – is much more common
and is often caused by ototoxic medications or one of many audiological, neurological, metabolic and psychological conditions. Objective tinnitus is much rarer and is often tied to underlying vascular or neurological problems.
If we can determine a diagnosis and address the condition causing your tinnitus, we may also be able to treat that condition and relieve your symptoms. If we can’t identify a specific cause of your tinnitus, we will recommend other treatment options.
During a tinnitus evaluation, an audiologist will administer:
• An in-depth written and verbal interview.
• A complete physical examination of your auditory system.
• A pure tone and ultra-high frequency audiometry test.
• Speech reception and word recognition tests.
• An otoacoustic emissions test.
• Additional tests, studies and evaluations.
Call Acadian Hearing & Balance Center at (337) 237-0716 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing sounds that are not there. If you are suffering from a ringing, buzzing, whooshing or clicking in your ears, you are not alone. Over 50 million Americans report some degree of tinnitus. There are many potential causes, including head injury, medication side effects and some diseases, but tinnitus is typically the result of damage to the auditory system.
Understanding the Facts
Tinnitus may sound different to everyone. Sounds can vary in volume and may present as a buzzing, humming, whistling or other noise.
Almost two million people suffer from severe tinnitus that interferes with daily activities.
Nearly 12 million people have tinnitus so severe they seek medical attention.
Tinnitus and hearing loss go hand in hand; 90 percent of those suffering from tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss.
Nearly 40 percent of those with tinnitus experience the symptoms at least 80 percent of their day.
Around 60 percent of veterans returning from war report tinnitus.
More than 200 drugs are known to cause tinnitus as a side effect.
There are two types of tinnitus – subjective and objective. Subjective is tinnitus only you can hear; objective can be heard by your audiologist.
More than 99 percent of all causes of tinnitus are subjective.
Stress and anxiety may contribute to tinnitus.
Cigarette smoke may be harmful to your ears. Studies have linked the toxic chemicals found in the smoke with chronic ear infections and tinnitus.
There are several groups of people who are at higher risk of developing tinnitus: those who work around loud machinery, musicians, hunters, senior citizens, military personnel and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
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