Diagnosing and Treating Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be an incredibly frustrating condition to have. Often described as a subjective high-pitched screech, buzz or ringing in your ears, it can appear at seemingly any time and it can prevent us from living a normal and comfortable life. Because tinnitus is described as a subjective condition (meaning only you can hear the ringing) it requires a professional audiologist in order to examine and diagnose the condition.
Luckily, your audiologist can also help you by suggesting different treatments once they’ve diagnosed the problem. If you feel that you’re suffering from a constant buzzing or ringing noise in your head, then it’s a good idea to speak to an audiologist and book an appointment to have an examination.
In most cases, your audiologist will examine your ears first and look for any physical causes that could trigger tinnitus. For instance, impacted earwax and blockages in your ear could cause tinnitus, hence why it’s important to make a physical check first. After that, your audiologist might ask you to move certain parts of your face to see if the tinnitus gets worse or better. For instance, they might ask you to move your eyes, your jaw or even your neck to see if anything affects your tinnitus.
You’ll need to try your best to describe your tinnitus to your audiologist because it could give them a clue on how to treat it. For instance, tinnitus that sounds like a heartbeat could be caused by blood vessel problems or even a blockage in the ear canal. If required, your audiologist will perform imaging tests to check for these potential causes of tinnitus.
Once diagnosed, your audiologist will suggest a series of different treatments that could help you treat your tinnitus.
The most basic tinnitus treatment is to use hearing aids. Since hearing loss is commonly associated with tinnitus, there’s a good chance that you might not be able to use conventional methods to treat it. This means that it’s effective to use a hearing aid that has a noise generating feature to help mask tinnitus.
It’s also possible to use a sound generator to mask tinnitus. This is great if you don’t suffer from hearing loss and have predictable tinnitus episodes, such as when you’re trying to fall asleep. These devices are standalone meaning they can just sit on your desk and play a soothing white noise to mask the sound, and they can even come with clock features to make the perfect accompaniment to your sleep.
Lastly, it’s possible to undergo therapy that can help you with your tinnitus. Therapy involves training your brain to ignore the frequencies in which the tinnitus occurs, or to lessen its effect by training yourself to focus less on it and more on what you want to do.
So no matter how severe your tinnitus is, it’s never a bad idea to speak with an audiologist so that they can help you diagnose your tinnitus and also offer treatments to help rid you of it.