Tinnitus is a term used to describe the condition of hearing sounds in an absence of an outside source. It is often referred to as “ringing in the ears,” although tinnitus may also manifest as humming, buzzing, thumping, or grinding sounds.
Since tinnitus is associated with hearing, audiometry with tympanometry are the primary baselines of tinnitus evaluation and treatment. Other tinnitus evaluations include assessment of vestibular function with electronystagmography and neuroimaging.
How common is tinnitus?
Tinnitus affects about 15-20% of people in the United States and is more common among older adults. In a journal published in the National Library of Medicine, the prevalence of chronic tinnitus increases with age, peaking at 14.3% in people aged 60-69 years.
Tinnitus sounds different to each person, which is why there are four different types of tinnitus:
- Subjective Tinnitus (most common)
- Neurological Tinnitus
- Somatic Tinnitus
- Objective Tinnitus (rare)
Tinnitus evaluations start off with a thorough medical history check, head and neck examinations, and audiometric testing to determine an underlying etiology. Pulsatile or unilateral tinnitus may be linked to a more serious medical condition and may need additional audiometric testing and radiologic exams.
Norfolk Audiology performs tests to help get a baseline of how a patient hears tinnitus sounds. These tests include loudness match testing, pitch match testing, and tinnitus questionnaires.
Should I see an ENT or audiologist for tinnitus?
This is a common question that people with tinnitus often ask. Technically, ENTs and audiologists both handle audiological concerns, but we highly recommend setting an appointment with an audiologist first for a tinnitus evaluation.
Audiologists specialize in hearing and balance disorders, and tinnitus is greatly related to hearing loss and similar auditory concerns.
Tinnitus Evaluations at Norfolk Audiology
At the start of your tinnitus evaluation, we will conduct a THI (tinnitus handicap inventory) and a case history. Since there are various causes of tinnitus, the information we gather can help determine if your family medical history might be contributing to your condition. Knowing the medical background of a patient is a very important part of tinnitus evaluations because allergies, ear infections, head colds, or impacted earwax can trigger tinnitus. Any recent trauma to the ears or head may also cause ringing in the ears.
Hearing Tests for Tinnitus
Depending on our initial assessment, the following tinnitus evaluations may be performed:
- Comprehensive audiological evaluation: Pure tone speech and bone, SRT, Word recognition, MCL, UCL with speech signal
- LDLs Loudness discomfort levels with pure tones
- Tinnitus Pitch Match
- Tinnitus Frequency Match
- Tinnitus masking level
What’s next after a tinnitus evaluation?
When the tinnitus evaluations are completed, we will explain the results to our patients and discuss how the condition affects their quality of life. We will go over the specific grounds on why sounds are more bothersome to some people than others for you to better understand your condition.
Audiologists at Norfolk Audiology will share with you the basic concepts behind tinnitus management and treatments. We believe in personalized treatments, hence, we offer various treatment options that are most suitable for the unique lifestyle of our patients. We use Jastreboff’s Tinnitus Retraining Therapy model for treatment. In other words, we use sound therapy and counseling to treat tinnitus.
If we suspect that the source of tinnitus is not cochlear in origin, we may refer our patients to a PT in town for further evaluation and treatment.
Tinnitus Evaluation in Norfolk, NE
Norfolk Audiology offers comprehensive tinnitus evaluations to ensure that you are getting the correct treatment for your tinnitus. We believe that through accurate tinnitus evaluations, tinnitus can be managed and affected individuals can live a better and healthier life.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!