Tests for an Accurate Tinnitus Diagnosis
Because there are many possible causes of tinnitus, an accurate diagnosis begins with visiting an ear specialist also known as an otologist or otolaryngologist. Tinnitus diagnosis must be done accurately so it may lead to its cause and how it can be treated.
It is important to note that tinnitus is usually made up of simple sounds. Hearing voices or someone talking is not normally associated with tinnitus and is considered an auditory hallucination. These hallucinations are more related to psychiatric disturbances than to the diseases that cause tinnitus. Expert advice and evaluative tests are therefore necessary for an accurate tinnitus diagnosis.
Tinnitus diagnosis is achieved with the following steps:
- The physician will ask about your current or chronic sickness such as arthritis, and whether your line of work or where you reside is always exposed to high levels of noise. He will also ask you about the medications you take. This is necessary because the external factors aforementioned could be the possible cause of your tinnitus.
- A physical and historical evaluation of your head, neck, and the nerves surrounding these areas will be done because somatic tinnitus can be caused by injuries and trauma in the areas near the ear.
- Blood pressure and sometimes a spinal tap may be done to measure the fluid pressure in the spinal cord and the brain. This fluid may be due to benign intracranial hypertension.
- An X-ray may be necessary to check whether there is a structural problem in the ear that may be the cause of the tinnitus. A CT scan or MRI may be requested if your doctor wishes to see more details to find out the real cause of your tinnitus.
- An audiogram is a test involving the production of sounds in different levels of volume or intensity and pitch. You may be tested for this so your doctor can identify whether you can hear the sound. You can express ascent by raising your hand or pressing a button.) An audiogram test is done to measure one’s level of hear loss which is often associated with tinnitus.
- Ultrasonography, computed tomography or an angiogram may be necessary if your doctor suspects that your tinnitus could be a cause of heart or blood vessel problem.
- Evoked response audiometry uses acoustic stimulations that test the brain’s response in order to find any lesion that may cause hearing problems.
- Other tests specific to characterizing tinnitus are tests that measure the pitch, loudness (volume) and maskability (ability of other sounds to mask tinnitus) when tinnitus is already confirmed to exist.
Always remember that a correct tinnitus diagnosis will lead to correct forms of prevention and treatment. Simple audio tests are basic but further testing on other parts of the body may also be necessary to find the underlying cause of tinnitus. A correct diagnosis of tinnitus can be confirmed once the hypothesized cause is treated and the tinnitus goes away. It is always best to consult your doctor for expert advice and diagnosis.