If your hearing care professional suspects you have tinnitus, they will conduct several different tests to see if this is the case. For many people, this can be a time filled with anxiety as you don’t exactly know what to expect from these types of tests, or even what they are. If this is the case, then you have come to the right place because we are going to be discussing the different tests that can be performed to help diagnose tinnitus, and what you can expect to happen during these exams.
A Hearing Test
The first thing that your hearing health care professional will do is conduct a hearing exam. What happens here is that you will be asked to sit in a soundproof room wearing noise-canceling headphones to ensure that you can hear nothing from the outside world. Once you are in this room, your hearing care professional will play certain sounds into one ear at a time. As they are doing this, they will ask you to show them if you can hear each sound and then they will use this data to compare your hearing to that of other people your age. This will help to see if there are any causes of tinnitus and if so what they are.
You will also be asked to take part in a pure tone and speech audiometry. These are tests that can help indicate to the hearing care professional the health of your inner ear and auditory pathway. Many tests fall under this bracket, so don’t be surprised if your audiologist keeps you for a while as they try to test for tinnitus.
A Movement Test
You might be asked to complete a series of movement tests to help your hearing care professional test for tinnitus. Some of these could include moving your eyes, moving your neck, arms and legs, as well as clenching your jaw. You might not see how this is relevant to tinnitus, but it is often the case that this disorder is caused by an underlying medical condition, and these tests will help identify any issues that you might have, and then they can be treated. For example, you could have a buildup of earwax which is impacting your levels of hearing.
There are also a range of auditory-related issues that could be causing tinnitus, and your hearing care professional needs to find out if you have any of these. Some of these could include an ear infection, sudden deafness, and some age-related issues. Sometimes, even other issues like vascular problems or a severe jaw issue could also be causing you to experience tinnitus. Once your hearing care professional has conducted these tests, they have a much better chance of diagnosing and treating you.
It is always going to depend on what the suspected cause is and what kind of further tests you might need. For example, in some cases, it might be necessary for your hearing care professional to send you for a CT or MRI scan. This way, they will be able to get a better look inside your ear and your head, to see if any abnormalities could be causing your tinnitus.
Identify the Sound
It can be helpful if you identify the noise that you are hearing. Because tinnitus comes in a variety of different presentations, it can be hard to figure out what is causing it. However, if you can identify the sound that you are hearing when your tinnitus is more noticeable, you might help your hearing care professional with a list of possible causes. For example, you might be hearing clicking, rushing, heartbeat, a high-pitched noise, or even humming. All of these noises could have potentially different causes, and that is why you need to be clear when you tell your hearing care professional what you are hearing. If you can hear a heartbeat, this could be linked to blood vessel issues such as high blood pressure. Or, if the clicking is the noise that is in your head, you might find that this is caused by muscle contractions around your ear. There are so many possibilities that help narrow it down is going to make diagnosing your condition easier.
Now that you have a better understanding of how testing is conducted for tinnitus contact one of our hearing care professionals today if you think you may benefit from diagnosis and treatment: (888) 553-7520