Archive for the ‘Tinnitus Treatment’ Category

What are the Various Treatment Options for Tinnitus?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

As with any other medical issue, a tinnitus treatment is most successful when it addresses the cause directly. Since tinnitus is considered a symptom of a disease rather than its own disorder, treatment for tinnitus focuses on the underlying illness. Unfortunately, in many cases it is very difficult to determine the precise cause of tinnitus, which makes targeted treatment equally challenging.

Key Points About Treating Tinnitus:



Tinnitus homeopathic treatments and alternative remedies

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Unless you are one of the lucky few that has found relief from traditional medical tinnitus therapy, you have likely been considered or tried alternative therapies for tinnitus. This is not uncommon for diseases that tend to defy Western medical treatment; many complementary and alternative therapies are adopted to fill that void. This is certainly true in a symptom as vexing as tinnitus. While there is little evidence that any one alternative treatment works, the same can be said for any one traditional therapy too. Therefore the remedies listed should be considered with the same thoughtfulness as any traditional tinnitus treatment. If you are going to try one or more of these therapies it is prudent to consult your physician and to seek out an expert practitioner in the respective field, whether that person is a licensed acupuncturist or a doctor of homeopathy, for example.

Homeopathy for tinnitus

The three basic principles of homeopathy are that 1) any substance can cause particular symptoms or disease in an otherwise healthy person, 2) anyone with a particular disease displays certain characteristic symptoms, and 3) a small amount of the substance that can cause symptoms in a healthy person can reduce symptoms in a person with the corresponding disease. Simply put, it is said that homeopathy is the alternative medical system in which “like treats like.” It is important to note that occasionally the substances that are used for homeopathic treatment can, at high concentrations, be quite dangerous. However in the correct application of homeopathy, the active ingredient is diluted considerably. Often you will see a “c” or “x” beside a particular substance. From the Roman numerals 100 and 10 respectively, these indicate the dilution that is required of the neat (pure) substance (e.g. an “x” is one part active substance diluted in nine parts solvent, such as water).


Tinnitus cure – What can you do to get relief from tinnitus

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The first rule to curing tinnitus is to not accept “no” as an answer. This is your symptom, you deserve to know the particular cause and you deserve to find a cure for tinnitus. Unfortunately many physicians end their clinical discussion with “you’ll just have to live with it.” While there are certain people that may never find a cure for their tinnitus, there are many more that do. It just takes a lot of trial and error in some cases and a desire to be cured.

Know the cause

Patients are much more likely to cure tinnitus if they know their specific cause. This usually poses a clinical challenge for physicians for two reasons. First there are a huge number of causes of tinnitus, each with a possible role to play in your disease. Second, the search for the cause or causes can take a long time and a lot of energy. Nevertheless, if you can narrow the search down to at least a few possible or probable causes, it can be used to guide treatment.


Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Virtually every non-threatening sensation in the body goes away in a certain amount of time. You feel your clothes when you first put them on, but soon after you forget that they are even there. This process is called habituation and it is an extremely important neurological function. It is also the foundation for Tinnitus Retraining Therapy.

Habituation is integral to sensation

If habituation did not take place, things that we hear, feel, see, taste, and smell would slowly drive us crazy. While most of us think about habituation as ignoring something (which it is) the process actually takes place in the nerve cells of the brain. It is not that we stop sensing things all together; it is that the brain selects which stimuli to recognize and which to ignore. If habituation did not occur, we could not sense anything at all because every stimulus would be recognized simultaneously and be drowned amongst the others. Threatening stimuli, on the other hand, do not become habituated. For the most part, any non-threatening stimulus that is constant and/or repetitive will be ignored in time. While tinnitus fits this same definition, tinnitus is often difficult to ignore. The basis of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is to train the auditory (hearing) system to become habituated to the tinnitus sound.

Sound therapy

Imagine if a person suffering from tinnitus had a machine that produced a sound that was very similar to the tone, pitch, and frequency of the phantom sound. If the tinnitus sufferer could listen to the sound produced by that machine, constantly, in a short while one would expect the sound to be ignored by the brain. Ideally, since the sounds are presumably processed by the same hair cells and neurons (nerve cells) the tinnitus would go away as well.

Since it is very difficult to match an individual’s tinnitus sound exactly, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy takes a slightly different approach. In general, the sound therapy component of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy employs a white noise generator. White noise has no decipherable pattern. Because the brain cannot attach significance to the white noise the tinnitus sound is lost in it, so to speak. However, unlike tinnitus itself, it is quite easy for patients to become habituated to white noise. Therefore, in theory, the tinnitus is “ignored” along with the white noise.

These sound generators can resemble hearing aids or even be combined with hearing aids. They can both provide white noise as well as amplify certain frequencies of sound. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy sound generators can resemble earphones or a stereo with speakers. The decision of which device to use depends on the patient’s regard for privacy and cost—it is not clear if one mode of sound generation is better than another. People that have increased sensitivity to sound (hyperacusis) may prefer to have a bedside device rather than a device that goes in or over the ears. The key point is that the white noise is loud enough to be audible but so loud that it causes pain or discomfort.
Directive counseling and psychotherapy

Most practitioners of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy would insist that directive counseling is an essential component of the therapeutic process. In directive therapy, the patient is taught about the how the ear hears, how sound waves are converted to mechanical and then electrical energy, and how tinnitus and deafness are often related. Through teaching, the patient develops a mastery of the symptom of tinnitus.

Recall that we are habituated to non-threatening stimuli but not threatening stimuli. Thus the strategy in directive counseling is to instruct the patient not to fear or feel threatened by the tinnitus. While this may be easy to do on a rational level, it often takes directive counseling to thoroughly pacify the mind when thinking about the tinnitus.

One hurdle to directive counseling is that tinnitus gets more pronounced the more that one thinks about it, but how does one learn about tinnitus without thinking about it? Thus some therapists have included refocusing therapy into Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. Refocusing therapy can be described roughly as taking your mind off of tinnitus. Patients are encouraged to think about enjoyable things instead of tinnitus. This is easier said than done, which is why professional therapy is usually necessary.

Some patients find that stress exacerbates the symptom of tinnitus. Therefore some therapists also add relaxation therapy to the program. This approach not only reduces general stress and stress arising from the tinnitus itself, but also improves sleep and the ability to fall asleep.

Duration of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is not always easy. The process is very involved and takes a long time to achieve maximum effect. Most patients require treatment for one to two years. Most patients enjoy relief after one year but often require an addition six months to a year to solidify the habituation and make it permanent in the brain. What is more, the white noise generator is usually used for six hours each day, which many patients find cumbersome. However if tinnitus is severe, most patients will stick to the Tinnitus Retraining Therapy because it promises to relieve the symptom permanently.

The importance of comprehensive, professional therapy

If you are considering dedicating two years to an involved treatment regimen, it is important to find a provider that has a strong, proven track record in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. Otolaryngology and audiology clinics are a good place to start. The American Tinnitus Association may also have resources of experts in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy in your area.

Tinnitus & Hearing Loss

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Tinnitus and hearing loss are intimately related. Hearing loss may be the main cause of a person’s tinnitus while tinnitus can diminish a person’s ability to hear. Since the two go hand in hand, it is important to understand their relationship and how each impacts the management and treatment of the other.

If a tree fell in the woods…

If a tree fell in the woods and no one was there to hear it, would it make a sound? This ancient, perplexing question actually has a straightforward answer: no. Sounds are only sounds because of the biological structures that process them. Until a “sound” reaches the ear it is only a pressure wave or disturbance. The wave strikes the eardrum, which moves three small bones in the middle ear, which in turn move fluid within the cochlea. Depending on the frequency of the pressure wave, hair cells within the cochlea are disturbed emitting electrical signals to the brain. The brain processes these electrical signals as sounds. The brain assigns them a quality and a meaning. Without a functioning auditory system, there would be no sound, only pressure waves.

When hearing is lost


Tinnitus – An Overview

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Tinnitus is a medical symptom in which a person perceives a sound, such as ringing or humming, yet it is not a sound that is coming from the environment. Perhaps it is best to consider was tinnitus is not, before tackling what tinnitus is. First, tinnitus is not its own condition or disorder, it is a symptom. When the symptom of tinnitus occurs, it indicates that some other disease process is taking place. Second, the sound heard in tinnitus is not really there; in subjective tinnitus (which the vast majority of people with tinnitus have) there is nothing that is actually making a sound as you would normally think of it. Third, tinnitus is not a hallucination. A hallucination is a psychiatric symptom associated with conditions like schizophrenia. Tinnitus, on the other hand, is a neurological symptom involving the auditory system (hearing system).


The way in which patients with tinnitus experience the unusual sound in their ears differs greatly from person to person. Commonly people will describe the sound as a ringing, so much so that tinnitus is used interchangeably with the phrase “ringing in the ears.” However, the medical symptom can sound just like any nondescript sound: buzzing, whirring, whistling, whooshing, pulsing, or clicking. It can be low pitched, high pitched, or anywhere in between. It can be soft, like ambient background noise or so loud that it becomes difficult to hear actual sounds. The sound that occurs in tinnitus is never a voice or words (which would mean the issue is a hallucination). Finally tinnitus may occur infrequently or be present constantly.

Causes of tinnitus

As mentioned, tinnitus is a symptom, not a distinct medical condition. When people experience this strange sound in the ear(s), it means that there is some other medical issue occurring. There are many different disease and disorders that can cause tinnitus; fortunately none of them are overly severe or imminently life threatening.
Unlike most diseases which stay within a single bodily system, tinnitus can be caused by a problem in one of many different systems. The root cause of tinnitus can be metabolic, neurologic (involving the nervous system, vascular (involving the blood vessels), otologic (involving the ear and hearing system). It can be caused by something as simple as a buildup of earwax to something as complex as fibromyalgia. Certain forms of hearing loss are associated with tinnitus. Also, a number of drugs have been identified as potential causes of the symptom.


Preventing Tinnitus (ears ringing)

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The key to preventing tinnitus is to identify the causes of tinnitus and avoid them. This is easier said than done because there are so many causes of tinnitus (ringing ears). Moreover, not all of the causes are so easily avoided. Even so, when you consider that tinnitus can be extremely difficult to treat in people once they have acquired the symptom, any effort that you can make to prevent tinnitus is well worth your trouble.

Tinnitus and hearing loss

One of the more common causes of tinnitus is hearing loss, specifically sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is a form of deafness caused by a problem in the inner ear, namely the cochlea or the nerves that take electrical signals from the cochlea to the brain. For the most part, however, sensorineural hearing loss is due to a problem in the cochlea. The cochlea is a highly specialized sensory organ, which looks like a spiral conch shell (hence the name). The cochlea is filled with fluid that moves when disturbed by the eardrum and small bones of the middle ear. Sound waves traveling through the fluid of the cochlea move tiny hair cells inside the organ. When a hair cell moves, it sends a signal to the brain that is perceived as sound.


Objective Tinnitus versus Subjective Tinnitus

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

In virtually every case, when people discuss tinnitus (i.e. ringing in the ears) they are referring to subjective tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is a sound that one hears that is not being caused by an external source and that cannot be heard by anyone other than the person who is suffering from the peculiar symptom. However, the term tinnitus simply means the perception of sound that does not originate outside of the body, derived from the Latin tinnire, which means “to ring.” The other form of tinnitus, called objective tinnitus, is a ringing that does not originate outside of the body (just like subjective tinnitus) but that can be heard by a careful observer. In other words, in cases of objective tinnitus, the body is making a sound, albeit very faint, that is heard by both the patient and the examiner.


Diagnosing Tinnitus – Learn How to Find the Cause of Ringing Ears

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Tinnitus is a symptom, not a specific disease. Regardless of whether it is called a disease or a symptom, patients still want the strange ringing or humming in their ears to stop. Therefore physicians have developed a clinical pathway to identify the cause of tinnitus so that treatment for the underlying disease can be administered (while satisfying the patients desire to get rid of the ringing ears).


Tinnitus causes and treatments – learn how you can cure yourself of this affliction

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Tinnitus is the sensation of sounds like ringing in the ear that is noticeable with the absence of any external noise. The word means “ringing” in Latin. Tinnitus is a symptom of a condition and is not a disease itself and is not normally the sign of anything serious.

Tinnitus can result from any one of a number of different causes like foreign objects inside the ear, nasal allergies, ear infections, or build up of wax. Hearing loss that comes with aging can also bring on tinnitus as well as taking certain medications and other types of hearing loss due to genetics. Most commonly, tinnitus is the result of hearing loss brought on by noise.