Many patients experience tinnitus, typically ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears or in the head. While most patients can ignore it, some find it very distressing and want to try all options to reduce or eliminate it. A thorough evaluation is needed to try to determine the cause. Hearing loss is the leading cause, and wearing hearing aids can offer considerable relief. Other causes are stress, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. TMJ issues may also cause tinnitus, as can neck tension. We look at all of these factors to determine the best type of management
Testing may include pure tone and speech testing, Otoacoustic Emissions testing, and middle ear assessment. Matching the tinnitus to a test tone can tell us the pitch the patient is hearing so we can determine the best way to help mask it. Bedside sound machines often help to drown out the tinnitus at night.