May 25, 2015Tinnitus 0
Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom. The underlying causes of this condition can be varied and include stress, wax in the ear, exposure to loud noise, hearing loss, Meniere’s disease, head injury, migraine headaches, hypertension, anemia, drugs that affect hearing, excessive intake of coffee, smoking cigarettes, and some types of tumors.
While in ideal conditions treating and curing the underlying cause of tinnitus should help cure the condition, in reality, the underlying cause is not identified in most cases. This means that tinnitus cannot be cured but can only be treated to alleviate the symptoms.
Hearing and Other Medical Evaluation
When a person suffers from tinnitus, the first step is a complete hearing evaluation to determine whether hearing loss is the cause of the condition. If not, a complete medical examination is conducted with special attention to those causes that are known to cause tinnitus. If the underlying cause is identified, this is treated to help reduce the severity of tinnitus.
If the underlying cause of tinnitus cannot be identified or cured, then there are treatments that help manage the condition. These treatments include relaxation therapy, electrical stimulation, Trans- Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), sound machines, tinnitus maskers, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), biofeedback, counseling, and habituation therapies.
As stress and hypertension are causes of tinnitus and tinnitus increases stress, this can develop into a vicious cycle. One way of breaking this cycle is by teaching relaxation techniques, using hypnosis, or counseling. Counseling and hypnosis are also used in combination with habituation therapies to help the patient cope with the tinnitus and focus on the other, external sounds they hear. Habituation therapies also work in the same manner. In addition, patients who complain that their tinnitus is louder at night are provided with sound machines that produce white noise that helps them ignore the tinnitus and sleep. Tinnitus maskers also work in a similar manner. They look like hearing aids and produce a sound or white noise that helps mask the tinnitus.
In addition, as tinnitus is sometimes caused by medication that is toxic to hearing, doctors might recommend lower dosages of these medicines or even eliminate them completely.
Removal of excessive ear wax can also help control or treat tinnitus.
Another effective way of treating tinnitus, especially if the patient also has mild to moderate hearing loss, is to provide an open fit hearing aid. This hearing aid will help stimulate the auditory system of the patient and enable them to better hear external noise, thereby, effectively masking the tinnitus. Hearing aids also help the patient communicate better, reducing their stress levels, and thus reducing tinnitus.
No Single Cure or Treatment
As the causes of tinnitus vary, there is no single cure or treatment for this condition. What works for one person might not work for another because the underlying causes of the condition vary.
As such those suffering from tinnitus should first have their health and hearing evaluated by an audiologist, ENT specialist, and other healthcare professionals. This evaluation will identify possible causes of tinnitus and then determine a possible cure or treatment. Treatment also depends on the type, loudness, and duration of the sounds the patient hears.
For instance, if a patient hears the noise only at night, the treatment might include a sound producer that generates a soothing white noise that helps the patient sleep and relax. On the other hand, if the sound is continuous, the treatment can include a tinnitus masker or a hearing aid combined with a tinnitus masker. As most people suffering from tinnitus also end up feeling stressed, stress reduction therapies and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) are suggested for all tinnitus patients.