One of the most important roles for any hearing clinic is the diagnosis and management of tinnitus, a condition that affects over 15 million people a year. Tinnitus is a condition where you’ll hear sound despite there being no sound actually present.
At Columbia Basin Hearing Center, our tinnitus clinic offers assistance and treatment options for people with tinnitus. Here are some signs that you may have tinnitus, along with the types and common diagnosis processes.
Types of Tinnitus
There are two broad types of tinnitus possible:
- Subjective tinnitus: This is the most common type of tinnitus, and it refers to tinnitus that’s only heard by the person suffering from it. It can be caused by problems in the outer, middle or inner ear, or by issues with auditory nerves in the brain.
- Objective tinnitus: This is a rarer form of tinnitus where the doctor can also hear a noise in the ear while performing an examination. This kind of tinnitus can be caused by a muscle contraction, a blood vessel problem or a bone condition in the middle ear.
Describing Hearing Perception
If you fear you may have tinnitus, there are three different ways that a doctor may ask you to go about describing your hearing perception:
- Tonal: The frequencies of your symptoms are well-defined, and the symptoms are almost continuous – however, the volume of the outside noises fluctuates, going up and down seemingly at random.
- Pulsatile: The symptom is a pulsating feeling, often in coordination with the patient’s heartbeat.
- Musical: A case where symptom sound like music, or singing – they continue to repeat the same patterns over and over.
Tinnitus is not actually its own disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition associated with the auditory system. A doctor will base a diagnosis heavily on your description of symptoms, plus several questions they’ll ask you during your examination. These questions will also help determine the proper course for treatment.
Want to learn more about recognizing tinnitus, or any of our other hearing care center services? Speak to the audiology experts at Columbia Basin Hearing Center today.