Tinnitus Treatment in Jeannette, PA
Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear a distinct ringing or whistling in your ears. There is no actual noise that can be detected, only a noise that your brain makes you believe you are hearing. The effects of tinnitus symptoms can range from mildly annoying to severely debilitating.
To schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist in Jeannette that can provide you effective tinnitus treatment, call (724) 915-1049 or contact Martin Gallagher online.
There is only one basic symptom of tinnitus: hearing a phantom sound, literally a sound that is not there. The variations on that symptom, however, are countless. Tinnitus sufferers may hear a ringing or a whistling sound. They may hear it in one ear or in both ears. The noise can be periodic, lasting for hours or even days, or the noise can be constant, allowing patients no relief at all. The noise level can range from a very soft whistle to a debilitating loud roar, which can even sometimes be painful.
Secondary tinnitus symptoms, which occur as a result of the phantom sound, include:
- Stress or frustration
- Headaches ranging from mild to severe
- Anxiety, irritation or other changes in mood
- Loss of sleep
- Hearing loss due to an inability to hear above the tinnitus-induced sounds
- Impaired ability to work or perform activities of daily living
What causes tinnitus? The phenomenon is not completely understood. It is theorized that there is some impact that occurs on the particular hairs in the inner ear that sense sound. This impact on these inner ear hairs then causes a unique effect on the brain that is not fully understood, which in turn causes the brain to create a sound that is not actually occurring. This phantom sound is nonetheless registered by your brain as an actual sound.
The most common cause of tinnitus appears to be exposure to extremely loud noises. Acoustic neuromas, benign tumors on the inner ear, can also cause tinnitus. Other tinnitus causes can be as innocuous as ear wax buildup, or as serious as head trauma, ototoxic drugs or a condition called Meniere's Disease.
Tinnitus Testing & Diagnosis
Tinnitus is usually diagnosed based on patient history, particularly a list of your tinnitus symptoms. Also, the following examinations may be conducted:
- A comprehensive hearing exam, including some of the following tinnitus tests: speech recognition, tympanogram, acoustic reflex, tinnitus sound matching, pure tone audiogram, otoacoustic emission testing and minimum masking levels
- A physical exam, focusing on your head, neck and shoulders and looking particularly at movement of your neck, arms, legs, jaw and even eyes, to try to detect underlying conditions that may be causing your tinnitus
- Tinnitus questionnaires, inventories and scales to help assess the impact tinnitus is having on your life and to address secondary symptoms
- MRIs or CT scans, especially if the cause is thought to be due to injury or perhaps tumor-related
The type of sound you hear is crucial in diagnosing underlying conditions that may be causing your tinnitus. A whooshing or rushing sound may indicate vascular issues, whereas a clicking sound may be related to a jaw injury. If you are hearing a heartbeat, the problem may be high blood pressure. Meniere's disease is known to cause a low-pitched ringing, whereas hearing loss due to injury or loud noises almost always causes high-pitched ringing. Determining the type and severity of your tinnitus will be important for treatment.
There is much new research into tinnitus causes and symptoms, and new ways of treating tinnitus. Treatment is likely to focus on the driving force behind your tinnitus symptoms. If your phantom sound is a heartbeat and the underlying root cause is determined to be high blood pressure, your healthcare provider can treat the high blood pressure and thus eradicate the tinnitus symptoms. If the cause is as simple as earwax buildup, your healthcare provider can help to safely remove excess earwax.
When the root cause cannot be established or addressed, most treatment modalities focus on tinnitus 'masking,' which is similar to sound therapy and focuses on masking the sound or canceling out the sound you hear. This can be done using hearing aids, ear-level sound generators and biofeedback methods. Additional therapies focus on symptom management with, for example, stress-reduction techniques.
If you are experiencing severe tinnitus symptoms along with hearing loss, cochlear implants may be required. Whereas hearing aids simply amplify sound, cochlear implants actually function in much the same way the actual parts of the inner ear normally function. This electronic device can actually replace the function of the damaged inner ear and provide sound signals directly to the human brain.
If you are experiencing tinnitus it is imperative to be evaluated by a specialist since it is not well understood what triggers the brain to cause you to hear this noise. Healthcare providers with experience treating this condition can offer a more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options to patients suffering from tinnitus. Tinnitus that goes untreated can have a significant impact on a patient's ability to function while awake, as well as an impact on their ability to sleep.
Schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist in Jeannette that can provide a tinnitus test for your hearing troubles! Call (724) 915-1049 or contact Martin Gallagher online.
Medical Wellness Associates
Jeannette, PA 15644
8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 7:30 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm