Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears) (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Steven Doerr, MD
Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
In this Article
- Tinnitus definition
- What causes tinnitus?
- What are the symptoms of tinnitus?
- How is tinnitus diagnosed?
- What are the treatments for tinnitus?
- Tinnitus medications
- Tinnitus retraining therapy
- Tinnitus relief therapy
- Can tinnitus be prevented?
- What's being done in research on tinnitus treatments?
- Tinnitus Pictures - Slideshow
- Take the Ear Infection Quiz
- Balance Disorders - Slideshow
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
Tinnitus retraining therapy
Tinnitus retraining therapy is a form of treatment that tries to retrain the nerve pathways associated with hearing to get the brain used to the abnormal sound. Habituation allows the brain to ignore the tinnitus noise signal, and it allows the patient to become unaware that it is present unless they specifically concentrate on the noise. This treatment involves counseling and the use of a sound generator that is worn. Audiologists and otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) often work together in offering this treatment.
Tinnitus relief therapy
In addition to tinnitus retraining therapy, other treatments exist which attempt to relieve tinnitus, and each patient may benefit differently depending upon the cause of the tinnitus and their response to treatment. Some options include the following:
- Stress Reduction
- Depression counseling
- Electrical stimulation for patients with hearing loss
The use of acupuncture in the treatment of tinnitus has not demonstrated any efficacious benefit when evidence from various studies has been reviewed.
Can tinnitus be prevented?
Repeated loud noise exposure can be a cause of tinnitus as well as hearing loss. Loud music may cause short term symptoms, but repeated occupational exposure (for example, musicians, factory and construction workers) requires less intense sound levels to cause potential damage leading to tinnitus. Minimizing sound exposure, therefore, decreases the risk of developing tinnitus. Sound protection equipment, like ear muffs, may be appropriate at work and at home when using loud equipment.
A variety of medications may be ototoxic (damage the ear). If tinnitus develops while you are taking a medication, stop the medication and discuss other options with your health care professional.
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