Tinnitus is the medical term for a ringing or buzzing sound that you can hear in your ear, even though there are no other sounds present. It may also be heard as a whistling, hissing, or clicking sound. It can be present all the time or you may only hear it intermittently. The sounds can be so loud that they actually interrupt your daily life. It is important to note that tinnitus is not actually a disease but rather a symptom.
How Tinnitus Is Diagnosed
There are a number of different health conditions that can either cause or worsen tinnitus. As mentioned above, tinnitus is a symptom and not a disease itself, so your doctor will begin by giving you a general physical exam. Before any tests are conducted, your doctor will examine your ears, head and, neck to uncover any possible underlying causes. Your GP may ask to look at your movement, including your eyes and jaw. He or she may be looking for signs of TMJ disorders, which can cause tinnitus. If tinnitus changes or gets worse during these movements, it could be used to highlight the presence of an underlying disorder.
Ensure that you also inform your doctor of any medication you are taking because tinnitus can be a side effect of some drugs.
Here are some common causes of tinnitus: inner ear cell damage, age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, earwax blockage, or ear bone changes.
If your GP was unable to uncover possible cause, he or she may recommend that you consult a licensed audiologist (hearing aid specialist) for further testing. Possible tests include:
- Audiogram (Hearing Test)
A licensed audiologist will typically conduct a hearing exam. This exam will involve wearing headphones and having different sounds played into one ear at a time. You will be asked to indicate when you can hear a particular sound by clicking a button. This test will be used to rule out or identify possible causes of your tinnitus.
- Imaging Tests
An imaging test like an MR or CT scan may also be recommended; this will be able to uncover any structural problems possibly causing your tinnitus.
If you are in need of further information about tinnitus, or you are in need of an audiogram, consider House of Hearing Clinic. House of Hearing Clinic is a well-established hearing care clinic, home to professionally-trained and licensed audiologists. We have successfully treated more than 7000 patients. Book your appointment today here. You can also contact us here.