Tinnitus is the perception of a sound without an external source. Ten to fifteen percent of adults report tinnitus resulting in over 50 million Americans experiencing tinnitus. Tinnitus has many causes. Hearing loss of any etiology is a common cause of tinnitus and can be diagnosed with a hearing test. Other causes of tinnitus are more difficult to determine and may require further testing to make sure a more serious problem does or does not exist.
Sometimes treating the underlying hearing loss can help reduce the annoyance of tinnitus. Currently there are no medications that treat tinnitus, however, patients may benefit from education, counseling, behavioral therapy and sound therapy. Most often patients are reassured that there is no serious problem and are able to cope and adapt to tinnitus as a minor problem.