Every tinnitus doctor should be asking their patients these important questions…every time.
In 2006, the International Tinnitus Conference developed 14 essential questions for taking tinnitus history:
- Family history of tinnitus (or hearing loss)
- Initial onset. Time?
- Initial onset. Mode? Gradual or abrupt?
- Pattern. Steady? Pulsatile? Other?
- Site. Right ear? Left ear? Both ears? Inside head?
- Loudness. Scale 1-100. At worst? At best?
- Percentage of awake time aware of tinnitus?
- Natural masking? Music, everyday sounds, other sounds?
- Altered by head and neck movement or touching head or upper limbs (specification of the respective movements)?
- Hearing loss?
- Hearing aids (no, left, right, both, effect on tinnitus)?
- Noise annoyance or intolerance?
These questions are foundational to understand the etiology of the patient’s tinnitus. The patient’s answers will determine whether additional medical tests will be ordered to find out whether their tinnitus can be medically treated.
Here are additional questions that will help the audiologist in the management of tinnitus. Make sure your tinnitus doctor asks these questions…
- What would your life be like without your tinnitus?
- What are your hobbies? Exercise? Music? Reading? Television? Food? Dancing?
- Have you ever meditated or practiced yoga before?
- Have you ever seen a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist before?
- Are you on any medication directly to address your tinnitus?
- Do you use a smartphone? (for hearing aid sound therapy)
- Do you know anyone who also experiences tinnitus?
- What do you think is the cause of your tinnitus?
- Do you notice any factors that increase or decrease the annoyance of the ringing?
- How many hours of sleep do you average per night?
- Do you sleep with a spouse?
- Where do you work? Are you able to play music or sounds in your workplace?