Tinnitus is a symptom characterized by a ringing or other constant sound in your ears. Tinnitus is thought to affect about 44 million people across America, making it a common problem among our patients in Havertown, Paoli and surrounding communities in the Philadelphia area. It most commonly affects Pennsylvanians between 40 and 70, though it can occur in patients of any age—even children. In about 1 out of every 100 cases, a patient suffers from tinnitus so severe it’s debilitating. While tinnitus can’t always be cured, it’s important to try to identify the underlying condition causing this symptom. Our audiologists are equipped to diagnose and treat tinnitus, and we encourage you to visit our clinic for an evaluation and a discussion of your management options.
Tinnitus can manifest as an acute symptom, lasting just a few days, or a chronic or recurring symptom lasting weeks, months or years. It is often described as a ringing in the ears, but it’s also sometimes reported as other ongoing sounds like hissing, buzzing, roaring, sizzling, whooshing or clicking. If you’re one of the 5% of Pennsylvania patients suffering from tinnitus that is “moderately to significantly annoying,” it’s a great idea to visit one of ASK Physicians Hearing Centers’ locations for an evaluation. Our top team of audiologists is equipped with many tools and strategies to help patients with tinnitus, but first we need to assess your condition.
What to Expect During a Tinnitus Evaluation
There are several goals we hope to accomplish when we evaluate a Pennsylvania patient’s tinnitus:
- Identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus symptoms
- Determine is your tinnitus is subjective or objective
- Evaluate how your tinnitus is affecting your speech reception
- Assess whether you’re experiencing hyperacusis (sound sensitivity)
- Pinpoint the frequency and loudness of the sound you’re hearing
Tinnitus is a symptom of a wide range of health conditions, and it can occasionally point to a more serious problem that needs professional medical attention. This is why trying to identify a cause is important, even though it may not be possible. Subjective tinnitus—meaning tinnitus only you can hear—is much more common and is often caused by ototoxic medication or one of many audiological, neurological, metabolic and psychological conditions. Objective tinnitus is much more rare and is often tied to underlying vascular or neurological problems.
If we can determine a diagnosis and address the condition causing your tinnitus, we may also be able to treat that condition and relieve your symptoms. If we can’t identify a specific cause of your tinnitus, we will recommend other treatment options.
During a tinnitus evaluation at one of our offices, an audiologist will administer:
- An in-depth written and verbal interview
- A complete physical examination of your auditory system
- A pure tone and ultra-high frequency audiometry test
- Speech reception and word recognition tests
- An otoacoustic emissions test
- Additional tests, studies and evaluations