About Tinnitus in Des Plaines, Illinois


What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a sound perceived by the patient that is not present in the environment. This sound can be perceived in one or both ears or it may sound like it is present in the head. It is commonly thought of as “ringing” but may sound like humming, buzzing, pulsating, hissing, or roaring. This sound may be constant or intermittent and may change in pitch and volume.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus is mostly subjective, meaning that only the patient can hear it. It is most commonly due to damage to the hair cells of the inner ear or irritation of the hearing nerve. Occasionally tinnitus can be “objective” meaning the physician or audiologist can also hear it.
Tinnitus can be caused by excessive ear wax, noise exposure, middle ear dysfunction, high frequency hearing loss, damage to the inner ear from certain medications, jaw disorders, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, and in rare cases tumors along the nerves inside the internal auditory canal.

Is there treatment for tinnitus?

  • Yes – treatment begins with an evaluation by an ENT physician.
  • This is followed by hearing tests performed by an audiologist.
After other medical conditions are ruled out, treatment of tinnitus may consist of one or more of the following approaches:
  • Amplification (hearing aids)
  • Sound therapy/masking
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT)
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Surgery
In our office we have successfully treated tinnitus patients with a variety of hearing aids. Some of the new technology available in hearing aids provides both amplification and sound therapy. This type of treatment is appropriate for tinnitus patients who have a measurable hearing loss.