Tinnitus is a widespread condition that affects an estimated 50 million Americans. Tinnitus is the perception of sound (e.g., ringing, hissing, roaring, clicking, whooshing, buzzing, etc.) that is typically in the absence of an external sound source. Tinnitus varies from person to person. It can be perceived in the head, or in one or both ears, it can range from quiet to loud, as well as constant and intermittent. Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease. With rare exception, tinnitus is typically accompanied by hearing loss, meaning the two often co-exist. Tinnitus, however, can sometimes be associated with other medical conditions, including head injury, medication side effects, etc. Please see a licensed physician at the onset of tinnitus or if the tinnitus changes.
- 90 percent of those suffering from tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss.
- Around 60 percent of veterans returning from war report tinnitus.
- More than 200 drugs are known to cause tinnitus as a side effect.
- There are two types of tinnitus, subjective and objective.
- Subjective tinnitus is tinnitus only you can hear, which is the most common.
- Objective tinnitus can be heard by your audiologist.
- Stress and anxiety may contribute to tinnitus.
- Studies have linked the chemicals found in cigarette smoke with tinnitus.
- Group of people who are at higher risk of developing tinnitus include:
- Cancer patients (chemotherapy)
- General contractors or operating engineers
- Military personnel
- Senior citizens
During an initial tinnitus consultation, the audiologist will:
- Assess and review the patient’s history, including any hearing loss and sensitivity to sounds.
- Educate the patient on tinnitus.
- Discuss an individualized management plan.