You hear a persistent ringing sound that no one else can hear. It’s distracting you, even drowning out other sounds and conversation. No, you’re not going crazy – it’s probably tinnitus.

Tinnitus can leave many people frustrated, stressed and confused about what to do. Where do you go for treatment? Is there a cure?

One of the best places to start finding the answers is an audiologist’s office. Although tinnitus can be caused by many underlying problems (more than 200 of them, in fact), noise-related or age-related hearing loss is the leading one. Even if it’s not hearing loss, audiologists have tests and other ways to diagnose many ear-related sources of tinnitus and help you get the treatment you need.

Determining the source

As they evaluate your ears and document your medical history, an audiologist can spot common causes of tinnitus besides hearing loss – things like pressure from an ear infection or impacted earwax, Meniere’s disease, auditory nerve damage, circulation disorders, injuries or even medications you may be taking for other health conditions.

Helping you get the treatment you need

Even if an audiologist believes your tinnitus is related to a medical condition they can’t treat in a hearing clinic, they have the resources to connect you with the health professionals who can.

On the other hand, if your hearing evaluation reveals you have hearing loss, an audiologist can treat your tinnitus symptoms by treating you with hearing aids or other listening devices. By restoring outside sounds, hearing aids can detract from tinnitus and provide auditory stimulation for your brain.

If hearing aids aren’t enough, your audiologist may recommend a hearing aid with a tinnitus masker – a sound-generating device that can be custom-programmed to further neutralizes your symptoms. These also come in single devices that look like hearing aids.

Beyond advanced technology that helps you hear better and cope with tinnitus, audiologists can provide resources to help you deal with lingering psychological side effects like stress and anxiety, whether individual counseling, training on effective coping mechanisms, or support groups.

Whether diagnosing and treating the source of your tinnitus or helping you find practical coping solutions, audiologists can do a lot for your tinnitus that no other health professional can.