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Tinnitus Treatments: First Steps

The First Step in Getting Help

Since tinnitus is a symptom, the first step in finding some form of resolution should be to try to determine or diagnose the underlying cause. A comprehensive medical examination can rule out causative factors related to blood pressure, kidney function, drug intake, diet and allergies. Unfortunately, the cause of tinnitus cannot often be identified, so, in some cases, the tinnitus itself may need to be treated.

Our audiologist Mini Gupta is specialised in Tinnitus assessment and Management. Patients can call and arrange for a comprehensive tinnitus evaluation. We will need a complete list of current and past medications and an in-depth description of the tinnitus, including when it happens, and what seems to make it worse.

Before the advent of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and Tinnitus Habituation Therapy, most health care professionals would tell sufferers to “learn to live with it” and that “there is nothing that we can be done”. We now know that there is much more to understand and do about this problem. Tinnitus treatments serve to restore life to the pre-existing tinnitus level.

What Does our Testing Involve?

Our clinic has one of the most comprehensive protocols for tinnitus assessments in Melbourne. Our Audiologist will perform an otoscopic examination of your ear canals to ensure there is no wax or debris build up in the ear canals.

The first test involves conventional pure tone testing to determine if there is a hearing loss. The intensity and frequency of the tinnitus will also be measured as closely as possible.

We will also perform tests of residual inhibition to try to determine what treatment method would be most beneficial to you. We will assess your middle ear system to ensure your eardrums and attached middle ear bones are functioning appropriately. Perhaps the most valuable test in our tinnitus protocol is that of Otoacoustic emissions testing. It will be done to assess the integrity of the cochlea (assess outer hair cell function) as damage to the cochlea typically can be detected before hearing loss is found with conventional testing.

Auditory brainstem response testing can be done to rule out tumours on the vestibular nerve, or anomalies within that area of the auditory system.Typically, once a comprehensive evaluation has been performed, most individuals who suffer from tinnitus feel reassured and find it somewhat easier to adjust and adapt to the tinnitus. Individuals with mild tinnitus or longstanding tinnitus that is not life affecting generally do not require intervention or treatment. Most just need to be reassured that they do not have a rare disease, serious brain disorder, or are not going deaf. In such cases, individuals usually find that they can cope well with their tinnitus or can easily ignore it. Sometimes, further tinnitus treatment methods may be required