Tinnitus is derived from Latin and means “to tinkle or to ring like a bell”. Tinnitus is a perception of sound in the ears or the head when no external sound source is present. Many individuals refer to it as “ringing in the ears”, “head noises”, or “high pitched sounds in the head”. Other forms of sound are described as hissing, roaring, pulsing, whooshing, chirping, whistling, rushing, booming, and clicking have also been described by individuals that suffer from tinnitus. In fact, over 50 different descriptions of sounds have been reported. While individuals may enjoy these sounds in nature, they are certainly more bothersome when they are coming from one’s own ears or head.
Tinnitus can occur in one or both ears, constantly or intermittently, perceived to be occurring inside or outside the ear(s), be progressive, pulsing, or vary in intensity or pitch. Several different sounds may occur simultaneously. Most of the individuals that seek help suffer from constant tinnitus- 24 hours a day for seven days a week.
Tinnitus can be a symptom of a condition that is related to many forms of hearing loss, or it may exist without hearing loss. It is not a disease. Tinnitus is a symptom that may result from a number of medical conditions. It may result from age-related hearing loss (presbycusis typically begins after the age of 55), ear injury, or a physiological condition.
Our Audiologists have taken post-graduate training in tinnitus and tinnitus management. Patients can call and arrange for a comprehensive tinnitus evaluation. We will need a complete list of current and past medications and an in-depth description of the tinnitus, including when it happens, and what seems to make it worse.
Before the advent of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Tinnitus Habituation Therapy, most health care professionals would tell sufferers to “learn to live with it” and that “there is nothing that we can be done”. We now know that there is much more to understand and do about this problem. Our clinics subscribe to the Progressive Tinnitus Management approach which includes Tinnitus Retraining/Habituation Therapy, Sound Management, in some cases masking, and extensive education and counseling.