What are the causes of tinnitus?
Tinnitus is categorized as being either pulsatile or
Fluid in the middle ear
High blood pressure
Age-related hearing loss
Head and neck tumors
Sounds are used to cover up, or mask, the tinnitus. This distracts your brain and helps you “tune out” the ringing in your ears. Electronic devices that produce white noise, air conditioners, fans, soft music, etc. can all be employed.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
Similar in concept to acoustic therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy utilizes a portable sound generator that produces soft patterned tones to help desensitize the brain to the sounds of tinnitus.
Meniere’s disease (also known as endolymphatic hydrops) has a triad of symptoms (hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo) that fluctuate due to increased fluid pressures in the ear organs. Fluctuation of hearing and resulting tinnitus can be treated with a series of injections of Dexamethasone (a potent steroid) with an 85 percent chance of a reduction in tinnitus.
If you have an acoustic neuroma and suffer from tinnitus, the tinnitus may be resolved through a surgical removal of the acoustic neuroma. In a 1981 research study of more than 400 patients, 45 percent improved their tinnitus with the surgical removal of the acoustic neuroma.
Hearing loss causes maladaptive neuroplastic changes in the brain. Hearing aids are used to stimulate the auditory pathways received by the brain. Background sounds can mask tinnitus.
Hearing aids can also help the patient better distinguish one sound from another, improving communication and helping with focus and concentration difficulties. Many devices also come packaged with noise generators to replace ambient sounds if amplification alone does not reduce tinnitus.
Counseling, sleep and cognitive behavioral or relaxation methods can be practical in helping you manage your tinnitus symptoms by reducing the stress, anxiety
How is Tinnitus Treated?
There is no universal cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments that make it less of a distraction. Because tinnitus is a side effect of an underlying condition, identifying the problem may lead to a medical or surgical solution. The cure rates for pulsatile tinnitus are quite high once the problem has been identified. Unfortunately, in many cases, the exact cause of tinnitus can’t be identified, or treatment is not possible. However, symptoms can often be managed successfully through a number of different strategies.
Can Tinnitus be Prevented?
Noise-induced hearing loss, the result of damage to the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, is one of the most common causes of tinnitus. Anything you can do to limit your exposure to loud noise—by moving away from the sound, turning down the volume, or wearing earplugs or earmuffs—will help prevent tinnitus or keep it from getting worse.
Schedule your hearing evaluation today.