Please find below our most commonly asked questions regarding tinnitus and our tinnitus services. If you do not find what you are looking for we are always happy to answer your questions. Please call us or use the contact form on the left of this page to get in touch.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external sound is present. The noise can be ringing, screeching, hissing, humming, clicking, chirping, buzzing, even music; constant or intermittent; subtle or perceived as incredibly loud
Now that I have tinnitus, what is the first thing I should do?
See an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) and an audiologist to rule out any serious medical problem. Next, learn about your options and get involved in choosing your treatments. Use earplugs or other hearing protection in noisy environments to possibly avoid worsening the tinnitus. Join the American Tinnitus Association to keep current on new tinnitus treatments and to support research.
Can tinnitus be prevented?
Yes, some tinnitus can be prevented. Protect your ears with earplugs and/or protective earmuffs in all loud environments! Since many drugs can cause tinnitus, ask your doctor or pharmacist about the possible side effects of medications (and herbs) before you take them.
Does having tinnitus meant I am going deaf?
No. While an estimated 80% of people with tinnitus have some hearing loss, a significant number of people with tinnitus have normal hearing. Hearing loss may often help reveal or worsen existing tinnitus since the background sounds that had previously been heard, and were helping to “mask” the tinnitus, are no longer being heard.
Is there a nutritional approach to treating tinnitus?
There is no research on this subject. However, some patients report anecdotally that their tinnitus is made worse by consuming certain foods, such as cheese, salt, caffeinated foods (coffee, tea, chocolate), red wine, and aspartame (Nutrasweet).
I’ve been told there’s nothing that can be done about my tinnitus. Can you help me?
Almost all tinnitus is treatable. It is very rare to have tinnitus that cannot at least be significantly improved. In the past, it was thought that tinnitus was permanent and that patients had to ‘learn to live with it’, but new research shows this is not true. It has taken time for this message to reach health professionals, so even if you have been told previously that your tinnitus cannot be helped, we recommend you see one of our tinnitus specialists.
Can I wear hearing aids if I have tinnitus?
Yes. In fact, hearing aids often improve tinnitus and can be an important part of treatment. This is because one of the main causes of tinnitus is hearing loss. Treating the hearing loss with hearing aids can dramatically improve tinnitus.
Do I need a referral from a doctor for a tinnitus assessment?
No, you do not need a referral from a doctor to see an audiologist for a tinnitus assessment. We will ask for your doctor’s details at the appointment, but this is just so we can send them a copy of your test results. If you do not want us to contact your doctor please just let us know.
Are there any rebates available for tinnitus assessments?
Yes, if you are referred by your GP to us on a complex care plan or an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon or Neurologist has referred you to us there are some Medicare rebates available. Please be aware that the cost of seeing your GP or an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon can be more expensive than the amount Medicare will rebate, so unless you already have one of these referrals we do not suggest you get one.
If you are a member of a private health fund, you may be eligible for a rebate on an assessment or on treatment equipment. Please contact your health fund directly to see if you qualify for any rebates.
Regardless of which health fund you are with, you can still see Hearing and Audiology, and as long as your insurance covers hearing assessments or treatment equipment, you are eligible for that rebate.
Diagnosis of Tinnitus
Many people ask, “Do I have tinnitus?” The simple answer is, “If you hear it, you have it.” The not-so-simple answer is, “Tinnitus is a symptom of something that has gone wrong somewhere in the body – maybe in the ear, or along the auditory pathway to the brain, or in the brain, or elsewhere.” In the majority of cases, the source of the tinnitus is idiopathic – that is, without a known source. Nevertheless, many physical disorders do include tinnitus as a primary or secondary symptom, and these physical disorders can only be addressed and “ruled out” by professionals.
If you have tinnitus, get a thorough medical and audiological examination by our university trained clinicians at Hearing And Audiology. These examinations may uncover a treatable cause and point you to the most appropriate treatment.
Looking for something else?
If you didn’t find what you were looking for here then have a look at our other FAQs:
For more detailed information on tinnitus look at our tinnitus pages:
If booking online, please select Tinnitus Appointment from the List of Practitioners. If you are unable to find a tinnitus appointment online please call, as our office staff will be able to give you more appointment options.