Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. It's a symptom of an underlying condition such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. It can be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the part of your brain that interprets nerve signals as sound (auditory pathways), blood vessel problem, middle ear bone condition or muscle contractions. Treating an identified underlying cause sometimes helps. Other treatments reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Hearing (Audiological) Exam. As part of the test, you'll sit in a soundproof room wearing earphones through which will be played specific sounds into one ear at a time. You'll indicate when you can hear the sound, and your results are compared with results considered normal for your age. This can help rule out or identify possible causes of tinnitus.
Movement. Our doctor may ask you to move your eyes, clench your jaw, or move your neck, arms and legs. If your tinnitus changes or worsens, it may help identify an underlying disorder that needs treatment.
Imaging tests. Depending on the suspected cause of your tinnitus, you may need imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.
Earwax removal. Removing impacted earwax can decrease tinnitus symptoms.
Treating a blood vessel condition. Underlying vascular conditions may require medication, surgery or another treatment to address the problem.
Changing your medication. If a medication you're taking appears to be the cause of tinnitus, your doctor may recommend stopping or reducing the drug, or switching to a different medication.