Tinnitus is a phantom ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, buzzing, humming or other sound heard in the ears that has no external source. Everyone experiences tinnitus differently – for some, it is soft and can only be heard in quiet environments like the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, while for others it is loud and constantly debilitating. To get relief from tinnitus, you must first be diagnosed by an audiologist. We review the process for this below.
Tests for Diagnosing Tinnitus
According to an article published in the journal American Family Physician,“Almost all patients with tinnitus should undergo audiometry with tympanometry, and some patients require neuroimaging or assessment of vestibular function with electronystagmography.” We break these tests down below.
Audiometry testing aims to determine the quietest sounds you can hear across multiple frequency ranges. To conduct this test, your audiologist will put you in a soundproof booth and plan tones at various volumes and pitches. You’ll indicate whenever you hear a tone.
Tympanometry is conducted to evaluate the function of your eardrum and the tiny bones in your middle ears. It is done by placing a small probe that blows air into your ears, so your audiologist can observe how the structures move. Next, sound is used to evaluate the muscle that protects your ears from loud noises.
Neuroimaging, like an MRI scan, CT scan or ultrasound, is conducted when tinnitus is unilateral, or single-sided. It is used to determine if there’s a structural problem or medical condition affecting your brain or ears.
Electronystagmography can uncover a variety of audiological problems, including both balance disorders and tinnitus. This type of test involves placing electrodes on your head and measuring reactions to light, motion, depth and fluids.
These Results Are Combined
Your audiologist may conduct one or all of these tests in order to diagnose your tinnitus. Then, treatment can begin. The same article referenced above states, “Supportive counseling should begin during the initial evaluation to help patients cope with tinnitus. Counseling may also improve the chances of successful subsequent treatment.” For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Hearing Healthcare Center today.