First, What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a medical condition characterized by persistent ringing in one or both ears which can only be heard by the affected individual. It has also been described as whistling, hissing, buzzing, or pulsing in the ear. These sounds may come and go; however, most sufferers experience symptoms 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The effects range from slight annoyance to severe disruption of everyday life. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that over 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus.

Hyperacusis is when some sounds which are of normal loudness to others, are perceived as very loud or annoying.

Tinnitus is associated with hearing loss. Commonly, tinnitus is a result of auditory deprivation, though it can also be caused by other conditions which may require medical evaluation. It is important to understand that in NYS, a hearing aid dispenser is not licensed to treat or manage tinnitus. The only qualified professional to evaluate and offer treatment for tinnitus is an audiologist or physician/medical practitioner. Obtaining a correct diagnosis for the cause of your condition is essential for determining the proper course of tinnitus treatment.

Tinnitus Evaluation at CV Audiology

To ensure your visit with us at Champlain Valley Audiology is as thorough and time-effective as possible, we encourage you to download, print, and fill out our Tinnitus Patient Form at the time you schedule an appointment for a tinnitus evaluation and to bring this form in with you.

Prepare For Your Appointment

When you schedule an appointment with us, please be aware that we will need a variety of basic information from you. This information will include your signs and symptoms, your medical history, and any medications that you are currently taking. Please be prepared to share this information with us so that we can move forward quickly and easily with your evaluation and diagnosis.

Questions We May Ask

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Do you have a known hearing loss condition?
  • What does the noise you hear sound like?
  • Do you hear it in one or both ears?
  • Is the sound continuous or does it come and go?
  • Is the sound worse during the day or night, or is it the same all day long?
  • How loud is the noise?
  • How much does the noise bother you?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Have you been exposed to loud noises recently?
  • Have you ever had an ear disease or head injury?

Process for Being Seen in the Tinnitus Clinic

Step 1: Schedule a Tinnitus/Hyperacusis Evaluation

A thorough tinnitus and hearing exam will be conducted. During this process, Dr. Macner will determine if you have the type of tinnitus which appears to be responsive to sound therapy treatment. Additionally, Dr. Macner will determine if any medical tinnitus evaluation is needed. If so, we will arrange this appointment with an otolaryngologist, otoneurologist, or primary care practitioner after discussing this recommendation with you.

If there is anyone you would like to hear the test results and initial recommendations, you are encouraged to bring this person with you to this appointment.

Step 2: Return for Tinnitus/Hyperacusis Treatment Plan Appointment

A significant amount of information will be discussed at this appointment. A treatment plan will be determined. If there is anyone you would like to be part of this treatment planning, you are encouraged to bring this person with you to this appointment.

Following correct diagnosis, Dr. Macner will discuss all treatment options available for both daytime and nighttime tinnitus disturbance. We do our best to verify your health care insurance benefits for all treatment or management options as a courtesy to you.

We invite you to contact us for information on how to receive an evaluation for you or your loved one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there medications for tinnitus?
Almost all of the “surefire” remedies for tinnitus found on the internet are based on junk science, case studies, or no real evidence at all. But there are some things you can try that might help lessen symptoms, including: limiting exposure to loud noises, lowering your blood pressure, ingesting less salt, and limiting exposure to alcohol.
Can tinnitus be cured?
Current research by neurologists suggests that altering certain areas of the brain that respond to sound — or a lack thereof — may provide relief. Experiments to regrow broken hair cells have also been performed. Regrowth of hair cells means that hearing is restored, which prevents the brain from attempting to fill the void left by a lack of hair cells, ultimately ending tinnitus. Both theories are likely years away from clinical trials, which means a greater period of time until any possible cure hits the market. Curing tinnitus may be possible, but likely not in the near future.
Can tinnitus be directly measured?
Rarely. There is a form of tinnitus referred to as “objective tinnitus” that your doctor can hear. This is typically the result of a blood vessel problem, an inner-ear bone condition, or muscle contractions.
Does tinnitus cause hearing loss?
No. Tinnitus is a symptom of any number of conditions, including hearing loss.
Why is tinnitus worse at night?
In our daily lives, sounds around us typically mask tinnitus to some degree. At night, when things are quiet, there’s less noise and fewer mental distractions. If your tinnitus is stress related, it’s also possible that the cumulative stress of your day has made your symptoms worse.