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Tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying disease or a disorder.
Sometimes it may be without any specific cause. In these cases it is termed “idiopathic tinnitus”.
In most people tinnitus means hearing low pitched background noises or sounds even when there is no such sound in the environment.
If the symptom does not cause annoyance or difficulty in concentration or sleep, most sufferers do not visit the physician.
However, help of a health care provider maybe sought if the symptoms cause disturbance of daily activities or if the symptoms point towards a disease deeper than apparent.
Diagnosis and treatment is usually under the care of an ENT surgeon or otolaryngologist (dealing with Ear, nose and throat diseases) (1)
Initial assessment includes a complete history assessment of the patient. The health care provider will ask questions like (1) –
A detailed physical examination will be performed.
Some causes such as hypertension, anemia and so forth may be detected on physical examination.
Some tests may be prescribed to detect underlying causes of tinnitus.
These tests includes (1, 2, 3, 4) –
Tinnitus may also be caused due to abnormality of the jaw joint or Temporomandibular joint. This may be examined on an X ray.
If tinnitus is caused due to a brain tumor or other brain pathology, a spinal tap of CSF may provide clues to the diagnosis.