While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are treatments available to help make it less of a distraction. Since tinnitus is a side effect of an underlying condition, rather than a condition itself, it is important to identify the cause of the problem. Often, when the cause is identified a medical or surgical solution can be performed. 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.
Below are the most common tinnitus treatments.
Meniere’s disease (also known as endolympatic hydrops) can cause hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo. These symptoms fluctuate due to increased fluid pressures in the ear organs. This disease can be treated with a series of injections of Dexamethasone (a potent steroid) with an 85 percent chance of reduction in tinnitus symptoms.
If an acoustic neuroma is causing tinnitus, surgery may be performed to remove 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.
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.
Tinnitus retraining therapy is similar in concept to acoustic therapy. A portable sound generator produces soft patterned tones to help desensitize the brain to the sounds of tinnitus.
Hearing loss causes 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 and sleeplessness that are often associated with tinnitus. We can provide you with methods to help you manage your tinnitus symptoms.
Call Audiology Center Northwest at (503) 232-1845 for more information or to schedule an appointment.