Tinnitus is an involuntary perception of sound. It originates somewhere inside the head. Many people experience an occasional ringing, but the sounds usually only last for a couple of minutes. Ringing in the ears that doesn’t go away, or get better is called Tinnitus. Tinnitus can be buzzing, ringing, rushing sounds. The sound can fluctuate or remain constant; it can be primarily in one or both ears, or central inside the head. For some patients, tinnitus causes severe impact on their lives. In rare cases, tinnitus may be a sign of organic pathology and medical problems. It is therefore important that tinnitus patients receive a thorough assessment to determine whether referral for medical consultation is appropriate. An audiologist is trained to assess tinnitus patients.
There is a lot of debate on the specific cause of tinnitus. Many theories state that tinnitus involves some kind of neural activity that is interpreted by the brain as sound. It has been suggested that tinnitus occurs because the auditory system misinterprets small internal signals or perhaps it has something to do with hair cell damage within the cochlea. One thing is clear: stress has been shown to be one of the most exacerbating factors of tinnitus. The stress levels of the tinnitus sufferer increase as a result of the tinnitus, which , in turn, leads to increased perception of the tinnitus.
An informed patient is better equipped to manage tinnitus.
There are methods that incorporate the use of sound in some manner to reduce the negative effects of tinnitus
Biofeedback, meditation, yoga, massage, music are all approaches that are meant to reduce stress.
Several studies have shown how amplification in itself can be very effective in the treatment of tinnitus (Kochkin et al, 2008)
Auburn and Mountain Hearing Centres have developed a Tinnitus Assessment Protocol which incorporates Subjective Tinnitus Scales; Audiometric Testing, and patient interviews. A treatment plan is established on the basis of the individual test results and specific goals of the patient. If you suffer from annoying, troublesome ringing or buzzing in your ears, call our clinic and ask for a comprehensive tinnitus assessment.
Many private insurance companies will cover the cost of the tinnitus assessment under individual extended health benefits. Call your insurance company and ask whether services by a registered audiologist is covered by your plan.