What is tinnitus?
As defined by the American Academy of Audiology, “Tinnitus refers to an auditory perception not produced by an external sound. It is commonly described as a ‘hissing, roaring or ringing’ and can range from high pitch to low pitch, consist of multiple tones or sounds like noise (having no tonal quality at all). It most often is constant but can also be perceived as pulsed or intermittent.”
How prevalent is tinnitus?
According to the National Health and Nutritional Examinations Survey completed in 2011–2012, close to 20 million people experience tinnitus regularly and approximately two million people struggle with severe or debilitating tinnitus.
What can cause tinnitus?
● Hearing loss
● Noise exposure
● Head injury
● Medication side effects
● High or low blood pressure
● Wax buildup in the ear canal
● Fluid buildup behind the eardrum
● Problems of the heart, blood vessels, neck, jaw or teeth
If the following occur, we often refer to an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician to rule outabnormalities to the inner ear or the eighth cranial nerve:
● Tinnitus in only one ear
● Tinnitus that sounds like your heartbeat
● Tinnitus with sudden or fluctuating hearing loss
● Pressure or fullness in one or both ears
● Dizziness or balance problems accompanying tinnitus
iWhat does a tinnitus appointment with us look like?
● Your provider will take a case history
● Your provider will then examine your ears to rule out impacted cerumen or any other abnormalities of the outer ear.
● You will be asked to complete a Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI)
We use the THI as a tool to determine if there have been perceptual changes to a patient’s tinnitus. However, A difficult component of tinnitus is that it is not objective; determining how tinnitus affects a patient requires more information than a questionnaire can provide. At Dalzell’s Audiology, we perform a comprehensive case history looking at your overall health, medical history, medications, noise exposure, diet, mental health and tinnitus.
● Hearing evaluation
Comprehensive audiological evaluation (pure-tone audiometry, speech audiometry, acoustic immittance testing)
Hearing evaluation results will be reviewed with the patient and follow up care will be recommended.
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What does “Follow up care” mean?
Based on information taken during your case history and results during your hearing evaluation, your audiologist could recommend the following:
● Follow up with an ENT physician to rule out abnormalities to your ear that could be causing your tinnitus
● Consultation on best ways to reduce tinnitus with minor lifestyle and diet changes
● Hearing aid consultation
● Tinnitus coaching through our partners at Mindful Matters.
● We also suggest psychologists who have a background in chronic-pain management, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and, possibly, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) experience. (audiology.org)
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