Tinnitus is often described as a ringing in the ears, but can also sound like hissing, buzzing, roaring, sizzling, clicking or other noise. Tinnitus can manifest as an acute symptom lasting just a few days or a chronic or recurring symptom lasting weeks, months or years.
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. That is why trying to identify a cause is essential.
During a tinnitus evaluation, an audiologist will typically administer:
- An in-depth review of your medical history
- A complete physical examination of your auditory system
- A pure tone audiometry test
- Speech reception and word recognition tests
- An otoacoustic emissions test
- Additional tests as deemed appropriate
If you’re one of the five percent of Americans suffering from tinnitus that is “moderately to significantly annoying,” it’s a great idea to visit a hearing specialist for an evaluation. Our team of audiologists is equipped with many tools and strategies to help patients with tinnitus.
Hearing Assessments for Tinnitus
Audiometric evaluations for tinnitus typically focus on high-frequency sounds between 2000 and 4000 Hz. An otoacoustic emissions test can provide a strong indicator for tinnitus as studies have found emissions can be diminished in those with tinnitus and hearing loss.
What to Expect During an Evaluation
When evaluating a patient with tinnitus, we have several goals we want to accomplish:
- Identify the underlying cause of your tinnitus symptoms
- Determine if your tinnitus is subjective or objective
- Evaluate how your tinnitus is affecting your ability to understand speech and everyday life
One of the goals of an evaluation is to rule out what is not causing your tinnitus symptoms. Some common causes include hearing loss, ear bone changes, inner ear disorders, blood pressure changes due to an underlying condition and even certain medications. Once the evaluation is completed, the audiologist will provide you with recommendations for treatment and or management options.