When you have a high-pitched ringing in your ear that distracts you and cause you distress, it’s a sign you have a condition known as tinnitus. However, tinnitus is a very subjective experience and there's no way for other people to hear what you can hear – so how can an audiologist predict the condition you have and take steps to alleviate your symptoms? 

Can an audiologist tell if you have tinnitus?

As tinnitus is a ringing in your ears it would seem like quite a difficult thing to test for, an audiologist can quite easily test whether you can hear or not but can they tell if you have a high frequency buzzing sound in your brain? The answer is they can. 

An audiologist is a trained professional and quite capable of assessing a full range of criteria that may contribute to tinnitus and hearing loss. They will start by assessing your medical history then test your ears for pressure and wax. They can also test for nerve damage and circulation disorders. 

How do audiologists test for tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a very subjective experience, only the person with the condition will hear it and be able to describe the extent of the condition; still, an audiologist is capable of identifying the type of tinnitus a person has as well as its level of severity.

To help identify what tinnitus experience a person is having an audiologist will use a process of 'sound matching.' This means the patient will sit in a soundproof room and listen to a series of sounds, they will then choose the sound that most closely resembles their tinnitus experience. 

When should I see an audiologist? 

If you find that your hearing has deteriorated recently and that you struggle to hear woman and children in particular, it could be a sign that you are losing your high frequency range. This happens as you age and is the result of the damaged hair cells in your ears cochlea. 

Another reason you should see your audiologist is if you notice a ringing in your ears especially in the background of your experience. This ringing could be the onset of tinnitus which is another sign of the deterioration of your hearing. Your audiologist will be able to test for these conditions. 

What is the most effective tinnitus treatment? 

There are several tinnitus treatments you can choose from depending on the severity of your condition. For mild forms of tinnitus, you can use noninvasive type of treatment like mindfulness and acupuncture. These help to redirect your attention and reduce the effects of tinnitus. In more severe cases you might require a hearing aid devices. 

Heating aids are used to amplify the sounds frequencies naturally brought in by the ear, but they can also be used to reduce the background noise that characterizes tinnitus. Visit your audiologist foe a test and an assessment, they will help you decide on the most suitable earpiece for your condition and your lifestyle.