Information on tinnitus
- Examine the throat, nose and ears
- Subjective hearing test
- Analyse the noise in the ear; test the noise emission of the inner ear (otoacoustic emissions)
- Test for any balance disorders
- Objective hearing test (auditory brainstem response)
There are different methods to diagnose tinnitus:
- Blood analysis
- MRT of the skull (magnetic resonance tomography)
- CT of the skull (computer tomography)
- Examine the neck vertebrae and the jaw
What is a subjective hearing test?
With the patient’s participation a subjective hearing test checks the perception of sound in the ears. Seated in a soundproofed room, various sounds in a variety of frequency domains fed into the patient’s ears via headphones. The patient indicates to the specialist the instant the sound becomes audible. This allows the ENT doctor to firstly establish any hearing loss and then concentrate on the tinnitus.
What are otoacoustic emissions?
Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) are active sound emissions, originating from the inner ear, which though often present are not perceived. OAE occur due to movements of the exterior hair sensory cells. There are two types of otoacoustic emissions to distinguish. Objective audiometry measures otoacoustic emissions, testing the functioning of the external hair sensory cells. Clinically relevant hearing disorders can be deduced from this. The OAE measurements are carried out using a small probe in the outer auditory canal.
Tinnitus and hearing aids
More than fifty percent of tinnitus sufferers also have a loss of hearing. Using a hearing aid can significantly increase the quality of life and health for those with hearing loss and ear ringing. Hearing aids compensate for the loss, enabling people to hear external sounds again and retraining the brain to hear sounds.
When hearing loss occurs, the brain may lose its ability to process certain sounds and frequencies. Ear ringing may occur as the brain changes in response to hearing loss. Therefore, as hearing aids help restore the brain’s ability to process certain sounds and frequencies, ear ringing may be reduced or alleviated altogether. For more information about how hearing aids provide relief for ear ringing, contact a hear.com expert at 647-492-5458.
hear.com partners with hearing specialists throughout the country to conduct hearing tests and determine which hearing aids are best for each client. The Partner Provider will determine if you are a candidate for the combination hearing aid and tinnitus noiser. More and more people treated for ear noise choose to use a hearing aid with an integrated tinnitus noiser. This addition works on the principle of distraction, substituting negative noises with positive ones. The added technology in the hearing aid generates pleasant noises, which the user can select accordingly. The hearing aid-noiser combination is not known as a tinnitus cure, but as an ear ringing management instrument.
Tinnitus and hearing difficulties
People with ear ringing often have hearing difficulties which reduce quality of life and health significantly. A hearing test used in a research study of ear noise therapy revealed 95% of tinnitus patients had damaged hearing. 89% of the patients had hearing impairment in both ears. Only 5% had no hearing impairment. However, one cannot conclude that hearing loss or difficulties result in ear ringing. Nonetheless, damaged hearing is considered to be a direct cause for ear ringing symptoms. Around 80% suffering hearing damage for a long period have chronic ear ringing. Hearing aids can be an appropriate means for treating hearing difficulties and at the same time prevent ear ringing. Please request a call with a hear.com expert to learn more about our hearing aids.
The noise from the noiser is softer than the ear ringing. This enables the brain to re-learn how to focus on noises in the external environment and minimizes or completely eradicates the fixation on the ear noise. The therapy helps the brain become accustomed to sounds and after a certain time, fade them out. Leading companies in the hearing aid sector have specialized in these devices due to the high number people experiencing ear ringing. Renowned manufacturers such as Phonak offer hearing aids with integrated tinnitus noisers to reduce ear ringing and increase the quality of your health. Tinnitus relief is just a few steps away! Call us today for a risk-free trial!
Forms of treatment for tinnitus relief
The treatment and therapy varies according to what has actually caused the tinnitus. They can be acoustic stimulation, behavioral therapy approaches, medication, magnetic and electrical brain stimulation and physiotherapy. In acute cases Vitamin E preparations, magnesium, glucocorticoids such as cortisone, local anesthetics administered intravenously such as procaine and active ingredients to improve blood circulation (e.g. pentoxifylline). According to the cause and severity of the tinnitus the treatment and therapy can be in tablet form or intravenous drip.
Forms of tinnitus
Acute and chronic tinnitus
Acute tinnitus occurs when an unpleasant ear noise suddenly appears and remains for up to three months. In the case of chronic tinnitus the ear noises remain longer than the three month and may remain perceptible in the long term. If life quality is not impaired the sound is not compensated. If it is pathologically impaired the tinnitus is compensated for. Acute tinnitus is usually healed spontaneously or the patient recovers from the symptoms. The longer the ear noise remains, however, the higher the possibility of chronic illness.
Subjective tinnitus refers to an ear noise that can only be heard by that person. Most tinnitus cases are subjective. Subjective tinnitus is caused by a mistake in processing at the points of sound transmission and sound perception. There can be a dysfunction in the area of the middle ear right down to the cortex. For instance, ear noises occur through insufficient absorption of high sound pressure by the muscle in the middle ear.
There are a number of possible causes of subjective ear ringing. Often ear noises become audible when a foreign substance enters or during a middle ear infection. A number of illnesses or stressors can trigger subjective tinnitus. Sudden deafness or hearing loss is generally accepted as a cause of ear ringing.
In summary: subjective tinnitus at a glance
- Foreign substances in the auditory canal (e.g. a build up of ear wax)
- An ear infection (otitis media or externa)
- Viral and bacterial infections (e.g. borreliosis)
- Middle ear diseases disturbing sound transmission e.g. otosclerosis
- Noise trauma (acute or chronic)
- Sudden deafness
- Diving accidents
- Autoimmune disease of the inner ear
- Ototoxic substances
- A tumor on the hearing nerves (acoustic neurinoma)
- Difficulty hearing (hypoacusis)
- Problems with the neck vertebrae or in the teeth and jaw area trigger or increase the symptoms
If an ear noise can be heard and measured by the person examining it is an objective tinnitus. By comparison with subjective tinnitus, objective tinnitus is rather rare.
In summary: objective tinnitus at a glance
- Breathing noises
- Current noises of arteries
- Tension of the middle ear muscle
- Movements in the opening of the ear trumpet or acute functional disorder of the Eustachian tube.
The causes of tinnitus are many. But there is good news! The risk of occurrence can be reduced and there are preventative measures to take to avoid this illness. Fundamentally one must avoid the danger of damaging the ear through loud noises. Wear enough protection for your hearing against loud noises. Furthermore, one should reduce stress as much as possible. To this end, manage your time and allow for periods of relaxation and exercise. Recognize stress in your life, find healthy ways to cope with stress, have a support network, and eat balanced and healthy meals. These choices can lead to more energy and a more efficient everyday life. One should most certainly go to an ENT specialist with acute ear noise for a short-term therapy – usually through the use of medicaments – to avoid long-term problems.