Tinnitus is a very common presenting complaint of patients seen at our office. Tinnitus is the perception of ringing or other noise (buzzing, chirping, whooshing, etc) in the ears. The sound can be intermittent or constant and varies in severity from person to person. Over 45 million Americans struggle with tinnitus, making it one of the most common health conditions in the United States (American Tinnitus Society).

Tinnitus is not a condition but rather a symptom of an underlying condition. Although bothersome, tinnitus is rarely a sign of a serious problem. Damage to the inner ear organ or cochlea is the most common cause of tinnitus. Often this is due the presence of hearing loss or exposure to high noise levels.

Other causes of tinnitus include:

  • Onset of hearing loss without history of noise exposure
  • Blockage of the ear due to wax or infection
  • A benign tumor on the auditory nerve
  • Certain drugs- most widely documented a side effect of aspirin but also listed as a potential side effect of several types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, loop diuretics and antidepressants
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Otosclerosis, a disease that results in stiffening of the small bones in the middle ear
  • Other medical conditions such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease
  • Neck or jaw problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome
  • Injuries to the head and neck

The first step in the evaluation of tinnitus is to see a Doctor of Audiology for a comprehensive audiological and tinnitus evaluation. At our office, we will perform a thorough evaluation to assess the condition and present you with options for management.  Referral to your physician will be advised if an underlying medical condition is suspected. Tinnitus symptoms may come and go with no clear start or end making it important to speak with your audiologist about what you are experiencing.

How is Tinnitus Treated?

Tinnitus can improve with treatment in most cases. While there is no universal treatment, there are various options that your audiologist can discuss with you. To-date, no medication has been FDA approved for treatment of tinnitus. The numerous vitamins and supplements that claim to reduce tinnitus should be viewed with skepticism.

The risks of untreated hearing loss are established and many. Do not delay evaluation and management. To schedule an appointment with us or to learn more, contact us at 803-620-8250 or send an email to by filling out form below.

If your audiological evaluation reveals the presence of hearing loss, addressing the hearing loss through hearing aids is a very successful option. Most hearing aid models have the option of a built-in tinnitus masker that may be utilized in some cases. If hearing loss is not present, your audiologist will discuss alternate options for you based on your specific complaints and tinnitus severity.

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    Awards and Associations

    American Academy of Audiology
    American Board of Audiology
    American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    Dr. Kim Block

    2018 Audiologist of the Year

    Dr. Kim Block was awarded Outstanding Audiologist of the Year by the South Carolina Academy of Audiology in 2018. This award is given to an audiologist who...