Hearing & Balance Doctors

What is Tinnitus?

What is Tinnitus?

What is Tinnitus?

by | Apr 15, 2016 | Patient Resources, Tinnitus

Tinnitus (TIN-ih-tus) is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a ringing or a sound that only you can hear or a phantom auditory perception.

While tinnitus is not a condition, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition, it sure can be quite irritating and make hearing and communicating much more difficult than it has to be.

But what causes it?

Simply put, tinnitus is most often found in patients with poor input to the hearing center of their brain.

This doesn’t mean you can’t hear or have a brain injury. However, when sound entering our ears gets “gummed-up,” slowed down, or stopped due to damage or obstructions anywhere along the hearing system, the brain notices this…Big Time!

And just as your stomach might growl when you get hungry, damage anywhere along the hearing system will starve the brain for pure sound, which will cause the brain to grow or cause tinnitus.

Our hearing center in our brain needs uninterrupted, undistorted, and pure sound to function properly. In other words, sound is brain food. Feed your brain. Feed it!

So, what can be done?

At the Hearing and Balance Doctors of Utah, our doctors specialize in tinnitus therapy. We evaluate each of our tinnitus patients’ entire auditory (hearing) system in order to pinpoint any damage or obstructions that could be starving your brain for pure sound.

Then, with each patient, we come up with the best treatment plan for sound therapy so we can get the best possible outcome: A world with less irritating tinnitus. I like the sound of that!

If you or someone you know suffers from tinnitus, please call us at (435) 688-8991 to schedule a consultation.


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Dr. Ryan Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker joined Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2009. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in 2005 with his Bachelors of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He then received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Arizona where he minored in Cognitive Neuroscience (the study of how people perceive sound). While at the University of Arizona, he specialized in evoked potentials, specifically researching Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials and the Acoustic Change Complex. He gained clinical experience at Tucson Ear, Nose, and Throat; St. Joseph’s Hospital Balance Center; Arizona Hearing Specialists; and the Center for Hearing Impaired Children. Dr. Whitaker was raised in Orem, Utah with three older sisters and a younger brother (who is also an audiologist). His grandfather was a cartoonist for the Walt Disney Studios where he drew Donald Duck and many characters in Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland before starting the BYU Motion Picture Studio. Dr. Whitaker is married and has three sons. He is passionate about college football and also enjoys hiking in Southern Utah, reading, and traveling. He has traveled extensively through South Asia including Thailand, India, Nepal, and a church mission to the Philippines.

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