Traditional Treatments for Tinnitus
Tinnitus can be a persistent, annoying sound in your ear that no one else can hear. There is no discernable cure for tinnitus. Most treatments lessen or mask the symptoms of tinnitus. However, most physicians recommend preventing tinnitus by protecting the body, ears and brain.
In some cases tinnitus will go away on its own, however inmost cases reducing symptoms is the best option. Tinnitus has two forms objective and subjective. The difference is that objective symptoms can be heard because the sound emanates from the ear. This sound is normally caused by bodily functions. If a doctor can objectively hear a sound coming from a patient’s ear there are only a few treatments to alleviate the problem. First clearing the ear canal to make sure there are no foreign objects or impacted wax. If this doesn’t relieve the problem then other options include using a neurostimulator, botulinum toxin, shielding of the cochlea by a Teflon implant or gamma knife radiosurgery.
On the contrary, subjective tinnitus is based solely on the patient’s symptoms and feelings. After a thorough evaluation doctors must determine if a physical impairment, deficiency, stress, drugs, or injury causes the tinnitus. To determine a vitamin or mineral deficiency that causes tinnitus a simple blood test can be administered. Zinc, iron, vitamin B 12, and vitamin B complex are common deficiencies that have been known to cause tinnitus. Supplements will be prescribed to increase levels and foods with these vitamins and minerals should be added to ones diet. Once levels are restored tinnitus symptoms may diminish or even disappear.
Doctors include prescription medications in the treatment of tinnitus. Medications include lidocain or lignocaine, benzodiazepines, tricyclics, acamprosate, etidronate, carbamazepine, melatonin, and sertraline. Lidocaine is a common local anesthetic that if injected in to the inner ear has been shown to suppress tinnitus symptoms for a short period of time. Benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug that can act as a sedative and muscle relaxer. There are risks associated with long-term use of benzodiazepine. Tricyclics describe drugs such as antidepressants, anti psychotics, and antihistamines, which have been used in small doses to reduce tinnitus symptoms. Acamprosate (Campral) stabilizes the chemical balance within the brain. This should only be taken if patient abstains from drinking alcohol. Etidronate or sodium fluoride is prescribed in cases of otosclerosis or abnormal bone growth. Melatonin is prescribed for patients who have trouble falling asleep because of their tinnitus symptoms.
Other treatments that are recommended include electric stimulation, surgery, external sounds, and psychological. Electric stimulaton techniques include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), and direct stimulation of the auditory cortex by implanted electrodes. TMA is a noninvasive method that causes depolarization in the neurons of the brain. TENS can decrease muscle spasms by relaxing the muscles and treating pain. TENA is noninvasive and painless and the patient controls the frequency and duration of the treatment. Surgery is usually only applied to repair a perilymph fistula.
External sound therapy is used to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus by drowning out the noises at the same decibel at which they are heard in the ear. Some external sound treatment includes music therapy, low pitched sound treatment, auditive stimulation therapy, auditive destimulation therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy, tinnitus masker such as white noise, hearing aids for hearing loss and ultrasonic bone conduction. Psychological treatment includes cognitive behavioral therapy.
Regrettably, because there is no cure several treatments have been tried to reduce, minimize, and diminish the symptoms of tinnitus. In addition to physician recommended treatments, alternative medicine has been tried and determined to reduce symptoms of tinnitus. Before choosing a treatment plan research all methods before starting any treatment. It may take a trial by error system to determine what treatment works for you. Not every treatment works for every patient.
Graduated with a BA in exercise science and have worked in the medical field since. My focus is alternative medicine however all aspects of health interest me. Check out my health website!
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