If you’re experiencing a ringing sound in the ears when there’s no source for the noise, you may have tinnitus. Tinnitus doesn’t always cause ear ringing. Some people hear buzzing, humming, roaring, whistling or clicking.

Tinnitus isn’t a disease. It’s a symptom of some other underlying health issue. It’s most often associated with some degree of hearing loss.

Treatment for tinnitus depends on the cause. Our experts at The University of Vermont Medical Center Audiology Center work with you to ease symptoms and enhance your quality of life.

Tinnitus Care at The UVM Medical Center

When you come to the Audiology Center at the UVM Medical Center, you benefit from:

  • Comprehensive care. When needed, our audiology team works with otolaryngologists (also called ear, nose and throat specialists, or ENTs) to provide a full spectrum of care, from diagnosis to ongoing treatment and management.
  • Experienced, trusted expertise. We have one of the most experienced audiology teams in the region. Our specialists have a combined 40 years of experience caring for people with tinnitus. Two of our three audiologists are board-certified doctors—something not often found in most hearing aid clinics. We also have a full-time audiology assistant on-site to assist with patients’ needs.
  • Personalized care. It is sometimes necessary to try several treatment options before finding the one that works best. Our specialists work with you to individualize your treatment.
  • Affordable. We see all patients regardless of ability to pay. Every patient who we fit for hearing aids is eligible for an interest-free payment plan. We are the only audiology center in northern Vermont that accepts Medicaid for hearing aids. 
  • Dedicated to patient care. We do not accept kickbacks from hearing aid manufacturers. We choose hearing aids for patients based on what the patient needs—not on manufacturer incentives.
  • Convenience. Our full-time audiology assistant can help with repairs of hearing aids. We also have an after-hours drop-off service for hearing aid servicing and repair.
  • Advanced diagnostic procedures. Our doctors perform a variety of diagnostic procedures to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. These include:
    • Tests for Hearing
    • Diagnostic Imaging Tests (Our Ear, Nose and Throat specialists will perform these tests)

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus causes you to hear sounds, such as ringing, hissing, buzzing or clicking. The sounds may be intermittent (they come and go) or chronic (always present).

Approximately 45 million Americans, or 15%, suffer from tinnitus. About half of them have bothersome tinnitus which is defined as chronic, severe symptoms that interfere with their quality of life.

Types of Tinnitus

There are two types of tinnitus:

  • Subjective tinnitus creates sounds that only the afflicted person can hear. Subjective tinnitus is the most common. It affects 99 percent of sufferers.
  • Objective tinnitus generates head or ear noises that can be heard by others, not just the afflicted person. The sounds typically are the result of circulatory or musculoskeletal issues. This type is extremely rare.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a symptom of a health condition tht is affecting the auditory system. Health conditions that can cause tinnitus include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud sounds
  • Earwax buildup
  • Ear infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Brain tumors
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Thyroid problems
  • Medication side effect
  • Meniere's disease
  • Dietary influences
  • Head/neck trauma
  • Emotional factors
  • Stress
  • Temporomandibular disorders (like TMJ)

Tinnitus Diagnosis and Treatment

When tinnitus becomes chronic or severe it can interfere with sleep, mood, memory and the overall enjoyment of life. At The UVM Medical Center Audiology Center, our audiologists work carefully to make a definitive diagnosis and start you on the appropriate treatment. Treatment options may include a hearing aid with a sound generator and tinnitus retraining therapy.

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Contact Us

Find a doctor or specialist at The UVM Medical Center or call 802-847-3970.