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Tinnitus Assessment & Management

Tinnitus Assessment & Management

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head when there is no external sound source. It is a symptom rather than a disease itself. Patients may describe it as ringing, buzzing, clicking, whooshing, pulsations, or other noises. Most tinnitus is subjective, only heard by the patient, though objective tinnitus, audible to others, is rare.

Both adults and children with hearing loss can experience tinnitus. The most common causes are ear infections or impacted ear wax, sensorineural hearing loss, and noise-induced hearing loss. Most of the time, tinnitus has no identifiable cause.

Relationship Between Tinnitus and Hearing Loss

Tinnitus and hearing loss often coexist, with approximately 90% of individuals experiencing tinnitus also having some degree of hearing loss. Therefore, it is crucial to undergo a comprehensive hearing evaluation conducted by a certified Audiologist to assess both conditions.

How Hearing Aids helps Tinnitus

In addition to sound therapy, sound enrichment and counseling, wearing hearing aid is also one method to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus. Many individuals experiencing both hearing loss and tinnitus have reported effective reduction of the negative impacts of tinnitus through the use of hearing aid. The hearing aid primarily amplifies ambient sounds or emits low level sounds, shifts patient’s attention away from tinnitus and reduces its perception.

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Otologic and Audiological Assessment for Tinnitus

1. Otologic Examination:

An ENT specialist would perform a detailed case history and physical examination during initial evaluation. If the cause of tinnitus can be identified and treated, it may relieve the symptoms. Further assessments such as MRI or CT scans may be recommended to rule out any underlying conditions.

2. Audiological Examination:

Audiologist would conduct a comprehensive hearing test to assess if the hearing loss is associated with tinnitus. Tinnitus matching would also be performed to determine the characteristics of tinnitus to suggest appropriate management strategies or therapy.

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