Can tinnitus actually be measured?

Tinnitus cannot be measured directly. The audiologist relies on information you provide in describing your tinnitus. The audiologist will ask you questions such as:
• Which ear is involved? Right … left … both?
• Is the ringing constant?
• Do you notice it more at certain times of the day or night?
• Can you describe the sound or the ringing?
• Does the sound have a pitch to it? High pitch … low pitch?
• How loud does it seem? Does it seem loud or soft?
• Does the sound change in volume or pitch over time?
• Do you notice conditions that make the tinnitus worse—such as when drinking caffeinated beverages, when taking particular medicines, or after exposure to noise?
• Does the tinnitus affect your sleep … your work … your ability to concentrate?
• How annoying is it? Extremely so or not terribly bothersome?
In discussing your answers to these questions, the audiologist can give you information that will increase your understanding of your tinnitus.
Knowing more about the cause of your tinnitus can be a great relief. When the possible cause of your tinnitus is understood, your stress level (which can make tinnitus worse) is frequently reduced. You can “take charge” by anticipating, preventing, and changing situations that make your tinnitus worse.