Tinnitus is another common reason for consultation with an ENT consultant. Tinnitus is the perception of sound by an individual that is not being produced by an external source. It can affect one or both ears and can be intermittent or persistent. Tinnitus is often described by patients as a high pitched or ringing sound. It is sometimes associated with other ear symptoms such as hearing loss or vertigo.
Assessment for a patient presenting with tinnitus would include a full history and ear examination. A hearing test with pure tone audiometry would help assess for any associated hearing loss. MRI scanning may be indicated such as in cases where the tinnitus only affects one ear.
Often the specific cause for the tinnitus will not be identified. Tinnitus management focusses around strategies to manage the symptom such as aiding any associated hearing loss with hearing aids and using sound as a therapeutic tool particularly at night time and in quiet environments.