Tinnitus is a condition where sounds such as ringing, humming, buzzing, or other sounds are heard in the ears or head, but cannot be heard by other people. There can be many causes such as:
- A side effect of numerous medications
- Damage to the auditory system from very loud noise
- Some diseases such as Meniere’s Disease, Otosclerosis, and others
- Head injury
- Many other things, which we cannot always identify
Tinnitus occurs when the auditory nerve sends erroneous messages to the brain that an external sound exists, when there really is no such sound present. It is the symptom that results from the auditory system and the brain’s attempt to compensate for neural damage, and is not a disease or pathology requiring a cure.
If you suffer from tinnitus, you are not alone. Among Canadians ages 3 to 79, 42% report experiencing some degree of tinnitus, and 1 in 5 report that it interferes with things like sleep, concentration, or mood (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-625-x/2016001/article/14658-eng.htm#n10).
What to Do…
When tinnitus is present, it is important to rule out any underlying medical causes that would need to be addressed. This requires a full hearing assessment and tinnitus evaluation. Once any medical causes have been ruled out, our audiologist will discuss options with you and develop a treatment plan that meets your needs. Our patients report significant improvement or complete relief from their tinnitus within a few days to several months of treatment. The time frame varies widely from one individual to the next, with the most improvement expected within 6-24 months of treatment. You do not have to live with debilitating tinnitus.
What to Expect at a Tinnitus Assessment…
A tinnitus assessment includes a full hearing assessment and also gives our hearing professionals much more information about the type of sound you experience, its pitch and loudness, how other sounds interact or interfere with your tinnitus, and how it responds to being covered up by other sounds. This exam takes about an hour and includes:
- A review of your general and hearing health history, and your specific concerns
- A visual inspection of your ear canals and ear drums
- A full hearing assessment
- Tests to determine the pitch and loudness of your tinnitus, as well as its other characteristics
To determine the most suitable solutions for your tinnitus, a tinnitus assessment is essential. The goals of the assessment are to give us information regarding:
- The type and degree of any hearing loss that may be present
- Whether medical intervention is warranted
- The most suitable treatment options to achieve relief from your tinnitus
Following the assessment, your results will be reviewed with you, along with our recommendations for treatment. You are welcome to ask questions any time during this process and to bring a friend or family member to your appointment.
Solutions available to address tinnitus…
Following your assessment, solutions to address your tinnitus will be discussed with you. These may include one or more of the following:
- Educational information to help you understand your tinnitus
- The latest technology in tinnitus masking devices in a variety of styles from leading manufacturers, and all associated support and services
- Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
The level of support needed to experience relief from symptoms varies from person to person, and each treatment program is tailored to the individual needs through consultation between our audiologist and each tinnitus patient.