Best Tinnitus Therapy
Tinnitus is achingly familiar to many of us. It’s the sounds you hear that may be intermittent or even constant. Part buzzing-part ringing. In noisy environments, it can be an unwelcome distraction, but in quiet spaces, it can interfere with your work, focus and ability to relax. It can distract us from a conversation, impact our mental wellbeing and even keep us from being able to sleep at night. Most experience tinnitus at some time or another. Usually, we develop it after we have been subjected to loud noise like at a nightclub or live concert. However, when tinnitus becomes persistent it can take a toll on our health and wellbeing. Moreover, it can be the symptom of a potentially serious problem.
If you experience tinnitus regularly, it’s in your best interests to consult with an audiologist. They may be able to treat the causes behind your tinnitus, but even when they cannot, they are able to refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) professional to ensure that you get the remedy you need.
Regardless of who performs your tinnitus therapy or management, it’s important to know what to expect. The more you know going in, the more you can get from the appointment.
It starts with assessment and diagnosis
As you may expect, an audiologist’s first port of call will be to try and determine the cause of your tinnitus. Without doing so, your audiologist cannot prescribe an effective course of treatment. Remember that tinnitus, while it may seem like a problem in and of itself is in fact, the symptom of an underlying problem.
The causes of tinnitus
There are many causes of tinnitus and your audiologist will endeavor to determine which is the cause of yours. While temporary tinnitus is caused any time we are exposed to loud sounds, chronic tinnitus can be caused by a range of conditions such as:
- A buildup of earwax
- Regular exposure to loud noises
- Injuries to the head and neck
- Meniere’s disease
- Age-related hearing loss
- Benign tumors on the cranial nerve
An audiologist will conduct a number of tests designed to help them to identify the underlying condition which is at the root of your tinnitus. Their first test will likely be administered as a questionnaire to get an impression of your experience of tinnitus. Another early step will be to look over your family medical history. An audiologist will look for genetic conditions such as Meniere’s disease. They will also look for past head traumas in your medical history which may cause or at least contribute to tinnitus.
They may also carry out tests on the inner ear function and carry out checks in the ear canal. Don’t worry, this is all non-invasive and unobtrusive with a minimum of discomfort. Some of these will be the same tests as are carried out to determine the causes of hearing loss.
An audiologist will likely inspect your inner ear with an otoscope to check for wax buildup or blockages. They may also conduct a tympanometry test to ensure that there are no blockages or malformations impinging on the eardrum.
Tinnitus is usually a symptom of neurosensorial or conductive hearing loss. In such cases an audiologist will be able to provide treatment/ Even if your tinnitus is not related to an underlying hearing condition, they will still be able to refer you to an ENT doctor who can help you.
Possible tinnitus management solutions
The kind of treatment, therapy or management you undertake will depend on the underlying cause of your tinnitus. In the case of Meniere’s disease, for example, an anti-nausea treatment may be administered orally to combat not just tinnitus but feelings of vertigo or nausea associated with the condition. You may also be encouraged to abstain from salt and caffeine which can affect the balance of fluids in the inner ear.
In some cases, anti-anxiety drugs like valium or anti-depressants may be used to treat tinnitus. If tinnitus is caused by the buildup of earwax, your audiologist will be able to safely and comfortably remove excess ear wax either with warm water or a curved instrument called a curette.
In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove a tumor, cyst or calcium deposit that is causing the tinnitus and your audiologist will be able to refer you to a capable surgeon.
If you have lived with tinnitus for some time, don’t suffer in silence a moment longer. Get in touch with us at ENT Physicians Inc. by calling (419) 776-5028.