Graduation Year

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Au.D.

Degree Granting Department

Audiology

Major Professor

Hnath-Chisolm, Theresa

Keywords

tinnitus

Abstract

Tinnitus is defined as an auditory stimulus that is unrelated to external stimulation. There are many theories as to what causes tinnitus, therefore, there are many treatment options for tinnitus. This paper attempts to increase the audiologist's knowledge of the etiology, as well as, the most appropriate treatment for tinnitus. There are two types of tinnitus, objective and subjective. Subjective tinnitus is more common, although it is more difficult to treat than objective tinnitus. There are many theories as to what causes tinnitus. Several disorders that have tinnitus as a symptom, such as, Meniere's disease, acoustic neuroma, and dysfunction of serotonin levels, are discussed. Before treatment of tinnitus, the patient must undergo a medical and audiologic evaluation. Tests of tinnitus pitch, loudness, residual masking, and minimal masking are included. The implications of these tests on treatment are also discussed. There are many treatment options available for tinnitus, such as, electrical stimulation, medications, stress and psychological therapy, tinnitus maskers, and hearing aids. This paper focuses on mainly the treatments that are most feasible for an audiologist. In addition, included is an empirical study that was conducted to examine the effects of hearing aids and circuit type on tinnitus relief. To conclude, this paper will summarize the steps to follow in order to manage a patient that exhibits tinnitus. Although there are some treatments that seem to be more appropriate for an audiologist to utilize, (i.e., hearing aids, maskers, and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, none have been proven to be effective in every patient. Research is still needed in this area.

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