Specialized Testing

Tinnitus and Vertigo

Tinnitus

Tinnitus(“tinn’- nit – us” or “tin – night – us”), or ringing in the ears, is a common problem affecting about one out of every six people in the United States alone, representing approximately 50 million people.  About 10-12 million of these people experience tinnitus severe enough to cause them to seek medical attention.  Approximately two million tinnitus sufferers experience debilitating tinnitus that interferes with living a normal life. Over the last decade or so, understanding of the various causes and factors that contribute to tinnitus perception and disturbance has improved tremendously. It is now understood that tinnitus is not a hearing problem, but it is a neurologically-based condition. Because tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious condition, any prolonged experience of tinnitus should be evaluated.

Tinnitus can take many forms. People describe it sometimes as a ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, chirping or clicking sound. It can be periodic or constant, and it can range in severity from subtle and easily ignored to severe and life-shattering. Tinnitus is more than just a perceived sound and can trigger anxiety and stress responses in the body. It can affect people of all ages.

Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of factors and each individual case is unique and typically occurs in the auditory system. A loss of hearing can result from exposure to loud noises, certain types of drugs and medication, middle ear infections, or other reasons.

Experience indicates that when there is hearing loss along with the tinnitus, use of hearing aids can provide substantial relief from tinnitus in many cases. Restoring the ability to hear environmental sounds by itself can reduce or block out the presence of the tinnitus.

Research suggests that tinnitus, initially caused by an ear problem, is often sustained as an auditory problem in the brain. There are several therapies that may be considered:

  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) uses a combination of low-level, broad-band noise and intensive one-to-one counseling to achieve “habituation,” such that the patient is no longer aware of the tinnitus, or such that the tinnitus is no longer perceived as annoying or bothersome.  Some studies have shown that TRT can be successful in up to 80% of cases.
  • The Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment utilizes a small, lightweight device with headphones that delivers precise music embedded with a pleasant acoustic stimulus. These sounds, customized for each user’s audiological profile, stimulate the auditory pathway to promote neural plastic changes. Over time, these new connections help the brain to filter out tinnitus disturbance, providing long-term relief from symptoms. Some may report relief from this treatment immediately but most will experience relief within a 6 month period of time.

If you have tinnitus, seek the services of an audiologist specializing in tinnitus for a complete Tinnitus Evaluation.

For more detailed information, we recommend you contact the American Tinnitus Association.

Information on Tinnitus and Testing
Noise-Induced Tinnitus
Tinnitus:FAQ
Otoacoustic Emissions
Impedance Testing
Auditory Brainstem Response

Vertigo

When dizziness or vertigo occurs, the very first thing many sufferers do is report it to their physician.  He or she will usually obtain detailed information about the dizziness, including when it began, what seems to bring it on (or make it worse or better), exactly what sensations are experienced and specific medical information. Find answers to frequently asked questions about dizziness here.

Since the balance organs are located in the inner ear, a hearing evaluation typically is recommended, followed by a vestibular evaluation.

In some types of dizziness, a simple treatment that is performed here at ACA, called canalith repositioning, can result in dramatic improvement — or even complete elimination — of symptoms.

Dizziness is not normal.  If you experience regular or constant dizziness or loss of balance, consult your audiologist or physician immediately.

Information on Dizziness and Testing
Dizziness:FAQ
Canalith Repositioning Procedure