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How Testing is Conducted for Tinnitus

Audiologic Evaluation

Are you worried that you might be suffering from tinnitus? Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear noises that aren’t actually there. The noise in question could be anything from clicking to a high or low-pitched sound. On rare occasions, it can even be a piece of music playing on repeat. If you start to hear a noise like this either constantly or as a recurring issue, you do need to make sure that you speak to an audiologist. They will be able to help and ensure that you get the treatment or support that you need.

Be aware that while tinnitus itself is not typically a serious condition, it can be a result of an underlying cause that may require treatment. That’s why it’s always important to get it checked, even if you feel that you can live with the noise and that it is not having a significant impact on your life. An audiologist will perform various checks when testing for tinnitus.

Hearing exam

One of the critical parts of testing for tinnitus is always going to be a hearing or an audiological exam. During this exam, you will need to sit in a soundproof room with headphones on. These headphones will play sound through one ear at one time. You then need to click a button to say when you can hear the sound. The results are then compared to individuals who are the same age as you. Be aware that tinnitus will often occur with some form of hearing loss. Indeed, reports suggest that 50% of people with hearing loss experience tinnitus.

A hearing test is not an intrusive procedure, and you will not need to worry about anyone sticking something inside your ear or causing you discomfort.

You may, however, find that an audiologist will perform a physical exam of your ear. This will still not be comfortable, but they will look down your ear using a special device. They will be checking for signs of ear wax being impacted or even growths. Both can cause temporary tinnitus.

Movement

Your audiologist may also ask you to move different parts of your body. This can include your neck, legs and arms. They may ask you to move your eyes and even clench your jaw. Your audiologist will be looking for signs that any of these movements cause the condition to get worse. If it does get worse based on movement, this can help your audiologist pinpoint the cause of the issue. They will be able to make an educated assumption of the cause and then offer treatment.

Imaging

If the audiologist believes a neurological condition is causing your tinnitus, they may refer you to your physician to have imaging completed. This may include a CT or MRI scan but will be determined by your physician. The need for this is often rare, but it’s essential to understand what you can expect fully.

Identifying the sound

Your audiologist may also ask you to describe the sound that you are hearing. Different types of sounds are actually caused by certain conditions. For instance, clicking can be caused by muscle contractions around the ear and will usually last for a few seconds or a couple of minutes.

Humming and rushing can be vascular, and this may be diagnosed after you move, and the tinnitus gets worse. In contrast, you could be hearing your heartbeat echoing in your ear. While this can be due to a rather typical ear infection, it could also point to a blockage and potentially even a tumor or aneurysm.

High pitched ringing is the most common form of tinnitus as this is connected to a problem caused by damage to your hearing from loud noise. Anything over 80 decibels could cause long term damage to your hearing that cannot be reversed and may actually get worse over time.

It will be up to you to describe the noise that you can hear to your audiologist as accurately as you can. This will give them the best chance of effectively diagnosing your type of tinnitus.

We hope that you have found this advice useful if you are worried about getting tested for tinnitus. If you want to learn more about tinnitus or Arkansas Professional Hearing Care, please get in touch by calling 501-614-7904. Experts in the field, we will be happy to provide the assistance you need and ensure you get the right support.