Do the Symptoms of Tinnitus Affect Hearing Test Results?

Did you know approximately 17% to 20% of Australians suffer from some form of tinnitus? 

If you’re one of the millions of people learning to live with tinnitus, it’s natural you’ll have questions about the long-term treatment and effects on your life.

How will tinnitus affect my day-to-day living? What steps can I take to receive treatment? What options are available for someone like me? How can my hearing be tested to ensure my quality of life?

In this short guide, we’ll focus on answering the question, “How does Tinnitus affect a hearing test?”

If you’re living with the symptoms of tinnitus, it’s natural you’ll want to track your hearing capabilities and receive the standard of care you are entitled to and deserve. To ensure your hearing tests are accurate, and not impacted by your condition or symptoms on the day, it’s crucial you know what steps to take and how to find an audiologist who understands your needs.

With over 34 years of experience providing ongoing support and rehabilitation for patients with hearing problems through Western Australia, the team at Hearing & Audiology have been supporting communities throughout Perth and the surrounding suburbs for decades – and we’re committed to doing the same for you.

Read on for all the information you need about receiving hearing tests while suffering from tinnitus, and use the online booking system below to schedule your next test.

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If you want to learn more about tinnitus, check out our resources: 

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a common condition among Australians, often described as “ringing in the ears”. 

However, symptoms may also present as buzzing, whistling, clicking, or whooshing noise when no external noise is present. The perception of noise, when there is no external sound, can have a debilitating effect on daily life and overall health and wellbeing if not identified and treated properly.

Not a disease in its own right, tinnitus is caused by faults in the auditory system which includes the ears and parts of the brain. Although tinnitus is more common in people who have some form of hearing loss already, anyone of any age can suffer from a degree of tinnitus – though older adults are more likely to experience symptoms.

Some of the common causes of tinnitus include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Ear infections
  • Ear wax
  • Head injuries

How does tinnitus affect hearing tests?

Tinnitus can affect your hearing test by making it more difficult for you to identify words and sounds associated with the test.  

As many common hearing tests use test tones (pure tones) to identify the level of hearing loss, someone suffering from tinnitus may struggle to differentiate between tinnitus-related sounds and test-related sounds. This can result in skewed results, inaccuracies, or false positives. More than a frustration, these results can lead to incorrect management of hearing loss and frustrating misdiagnosis.

Learn more about tinnitus in our resource centre below:

How will my hearing test instructor manage my tinnitus?

The first and most important step prior to your test is to let your audiologist know you suffer from tinnitus, and to what degree your symptoms affect you. To help provide an accurate picture of your daily symptoms, and the severity of those symptoms, consider coming to your hearing test with answers to the following questions: 

  • When did you start experiencing tinnitus? 
  • Is the sound high or low-pitched? 
  • Is the sound loud or soft?
  • Does the sound change throughout the day?
  • How does the sound vary and when?
  • Does the sound get worse in certain situations?
  • Is the sound present in both ears or only one?

Depending on your condition, your hearing and audiology specialist may recommend specific hearing tests suited to you. For example, warble tones and pulsed tones are often used to support accurate results when traditional hearing tests are at risk of delivering unreliable results.

Hearing Test Services:

How to prepare for your hearing test

Though there is no cure for tinnitus, there are a range of lifestyle factors that can help manage your symptoms. Understanding these lifestyle factors can help you prepare for your hearing test and reduce the severity of symptoms to help you audiologist administer an accurate test. 

Ensure you get a good night’s rest prior to your test. Blood circulation can be reduced when your body lacks sleep which can exacerbate the effects of tinnitus and impact the accuracy of testing. You may also consider using an extra pillow to sleep with your head raised and reduce congestion inside your ear canals – this is particularly effective if ear wax build-up worsens your tinnitus.

Forms of stress management, including yoga, exercise, and medication, may also combat the symptoms of tinnitus.

REMEMBER: Tinnitus does not necessarily mean you are suffering from hearing loss. However, tinnitus is more common in those with hearing loss. For an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, be sure to schedule a hearing test from your local hearing professional.

The right hearing test in Perth will help you identify any potential hearing loss, and to what degree, and start you on your journey to treatment that helps make your day-to-day life manageable and enjoyable.

Ready to support your hearing? Here’s what to do next…

Scheduling diagnostic tests with a hearing and audiology specialist is the next step in providing crucial clues to the cause of your tinnitus and/or hearing loss. In many cases, hearing tests may be part of diagnosing tinnitus. However, it’s also vital to conduct a hearing test to determine whether tinnitus is occurring alongside hearing loss. 

If your evaluation reveals an underlying condition, both your tinnitus and hearing loss can be properly treated to ensure your symptoms are less bothersome, and you receive the support and guidance you need to enjoy life.

To schedule a hearing test, call a member of the Hearing & Audiology team on (08) 9388 8003 or book a hearing test online today.

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