Otolaryngology & Communication Sciences

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Tinnitus:  Noises In The Ears Or Head

Hyperacusis:  Sound Sensitivity

Tinnitus refers to the perception of sound(s) in the ear(s) or head. The sound is not produced by an outside sound. Tinnitus is a symptom NOT a disease.  It is commonly described as ‘hissing, roaring, buzzing or ringing.’  It can range from high pitch to low pitch, tonal or multiple tones and may be perceived in one ear or both, or in the head.

Tinnitus Sounds

It is estimated that over 50 million Americans experience tinnitus of some type.  Studies show that 10 to 15% of adults experience constant tinnitus.  Approximately 15% of adults who suffer from severe tinnitus will seek medical intervention.  Approximately 2 million people are so seriously debilitated from their tinnitus, they cannot function day-to-day.  Tinnitus tends to increase in prevalence with age.

Causes of tinnitus vary and may be linked to the following:
Conditions of the ear canal which include impacted ear wax or other debris.
Conditions in the middle ear which include ear infections, perforated ear drum, otosclerosis.
Conditions in the inner ear which include sensorineural hearing loss, noise exposure, Meniere’s Disease or benign tumors (acoustic neuromas) of the inner ear.

Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin has a Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Program with audiologists that specialize in the evaluation and treatment of tinnitus.  These audiologists have extensive training and several years of experiencing in working with patients with mild to severe disturbance from their tinnitus.  Our audiologists collaborate with other professionals who treat disorders that may contribute to or exasperate tinnitus.  Those professionals include; otolaryngologists, who treat disorders of the ear; tinnitus counselors, who provide biofeedback and stress relief; dentists, who treat Temporomandibular disorders (TMD); physical therapists and acupuncturists.  To date there is no known cure that works for all types of tinnitus; however, depending on the origin of the tinnitus some patients may experience total relief of their tinnitus through medical intervention.  For those patients whose tinnitus is not medically remediated, the audiologists at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin can provide patients with treatments and tools to obtain control and relief of their tinnitus.

Our audiologists will provide a comprehensive hearing evaluation and tinnitus assessment.  Counseling regarding the origins of tinnitus and hearing loss will be discussed at length and an individualized treatment plan will be designed for each patient.  Referrals to collaborating professions will be discussed if warranted.

Treatment options may include various techniques such as sound therapy (hearing aids, maskers or sound generators), Neuromonics tinnitus treatment, tinnitus coach/counselor, biofeedback, stress management, relaxation therapy, habituation therapies, TMD treatment, acupuncture or physical therapy.

Tinnitus, commonly described as a ringing or buzzing in the ears, is estimated to affect over 50 million people in the United States alone.
We offer several management options for those suffering from tinnitus. One such management tool is the Neuromonics device. Neuromonics is clinically proven to offer long-term, significant relief from tinnitus. While Neuromonics is not for everyone, we offer other management options including sound therapy, hearing aids and personalized masking devices.
For more information on Tinnitus go to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) or Tinnitus Practitioners Association (TPA). Our goal is for each patient to successfully manage their tinnitus with a plan that is tailored to meet their individual needs.

Testimonials/quotes from our patients:

“I felt like there was a rock on my chest and I was drowning. I feel like the rock has been removed and I have hope.”

“I get it!”

“Basically for three days straight I could not hear any tinnitus.  I cannot express to you how nice that was.”

“Something amazing has happened with my right ear.  For the last 24 days there has been a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the tinnitus in my right ear. For the last 24 days the tinnitus has dropped to a considerably lower level and stayed there.  I wasn't expecting this given that I had the tinnitus in my right ear for the last 23 1/2 years."

“I am noticing a definite improvement”

“I am doing GREAT now. I cannot explain the state I was in.”

“It has been weeks since I have had a problem with the tinnitus”

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Page Updated 12/03/2013