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Tinnitus can be treated in a number of ways, and treatment varies based on the physical condition causing tinnitus, whether it’s a treatment of the source of said illness or that of the symptoms. Tinnitus treatment can range from surgery to hearing aids, to dietary supplements, to psychological therapy and while sometimes tinnitus can be eliminated completely, a lot of the time all that can be done is to reduce its intensity or mask its effects.
Gamma knife radiosurgery can be used as a tinnitus therapy option, particularly in cases when tinnitus is secondary to a type of tumors called acoustic neuromas or acoustic neurinomas. Acoustic neurinomas are benign tumors that affect the acoustic-vestibular nerve. As the tumor progresses, the patient begins experiencing dizziness, tinnitus and loss of hearing. This type of tumor has been successfully treated with the help of gamma knife radiosurgery. Gamma knife radiosurgery is a minimally invasive and relatively safe surgical procedure, based on high doses of gamma radiation targeted with great precision on a specific area. Treatment consists of a single session of high dose, single fraction radiation which tends to give better results in some cases than conventional radiation therapy. The great advantages of gamma knife radiation therapy are non-invasiveness, along with the fact that this intervention only requires mild sedation and local anesthesia, which reduces risk factors considerably, and the fact that the recovery period after the intervention is minimal. The intervention requires one day of hospitalization, though it can also be done on an outpatient basis. There is no risk of scarring, hemorrhaging or infection associated with this procedure. While this procedure has been known to have beneficial effects in a majority of cases, caution must be employed in choosing this treatment for patients suffering from acoustic neurinomas with macrocystic components, because studies show that in certain cases, some adverse reactions have been known to occur.
Neuromonics therapy is a type of tinnitus treatment which works on the principle of brain re-training. Basically, the brain is trained to ignore the symptoms of tinnitus so that the patient can carry out normal activities. Neuromonics tinnitus treatment consists in the embedding of acoustic stimuli (meant to mask the tinnitus) in certain tracks of relaxing music, which are then played for certain periods of time depending on the stage of the treatment, with the help of a device similar to iPods and some special headphones. In this way, the brain becomes accustomed to focusing on the musical track rather than on the tinnitus. The treatment is divided into two stages. The first stage requires wearing the Neuromonics device from 2 to 4 hours a day while conducting normal day to day activities. In the second stage of treatment, the masking sound embedded on the tracks is gradually decreased, in order to train the brain to focus on the music rather than on the tinnitus sounds. Eventually, treatment time is also decreased. The total treatment, with the two stages can last up to 8 months, and in order for the effects of the treatment to be durable, maintenance therapy should be undergone at least twice a week. Neuromonics tinnitus therapy is not recommended for all tinnitus patients, and is only begun after intensive medical testing.
Music therapy is based on the principle of partial masking of tinnitus noises. While not dissimilar to the Neuromonics tinnitus therapy, music therapy works in way to allow tinnitus patients to get used to the existence of a background noise and to be able to carry out activities, relax or fall asleep while this background noise exists. Up until now, this same kind of therapy was conducted with the use of broadband noise, but music seems to be much better tolerated by a majority of patients. During music tinnitus therapy, patients are instructed to listen to music in their headphones at least for 3 times a day, for 30 minutes at the time, while not actively becoming engaged with the music, but rather having it play in the background as they go about other activities.
Another option for tinnitus therapy is the use of a hearing aid. In many cases, tinnitus is associated with loss of hearing. Hearing aids can help tinnitus patients perceive an array of sounds they had lost access to with the degradation of their hearing, and therefore tinnitus becomes a lot less noticeable for them. Similarly, other hearing devices can create a masking sound similar to static or white noise, which n time diminishes the intensity of the tinnitus perceived by the patient.
Brain retraining tinnitus therapy is the principle the Neuromonics system is based on, but it is also applied in other ways. Brain retraining takes into consideration the two components of sound perception, the functional (involving receptors, transmitters and nervous centers that decode the auditory information) and the emotional (centers in the brain that determine which sounds we react to and in which way). The emotional component of sound perception is situated in the brain’s limbic system. The goal of TRT, or tinnitus retraining therapy is for the sounds associated with tinnitus to no longer create an emotional response in the patient, in other words, for the tinnitus sound to stop being something patients are aware of, as it happens to a multitude of sounds everyone simply ignores on a daily basis. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is comprised of counseling and the wearing of a device that produces background noise. By the existence of this semi-continual auditory stimulation, the hoped result is the eventual fading into the background of the tinnitus sounds and as such, giving the patient the opportunity to lead a normal, unperturbed life.
Laser therapy or photobiomodulation is based on the principle that the increased activity of mitochondria (elements of every cell in the human body, responsible for metabolizing nutrients and producing energy) can have regenerative properties on tissues, reversing the effects of neurotoxins and aging. According to studies, light energy in the red and near infrared spectrum has the ability not only to penetrate tissue, but also to stimulate mitochondrial activity. As the vast majority of tinnitus is a consequence of aging or degenerative diseases, the beneficial effect this treatment might have is extraordinary. According to studies, the duration and frequency of treatment sessions can influence the positive outcome of this type of tinnitus treatment. While not all studies have been overwhelmingly positive, it appears that good results can be achieved following this procedure, especially if combined with the use of Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo Biloba’s benefits in tinnitus treatment have long been recognized. It appears that a certain dose of Ginkgo Biloba has to be used in order for it to have a perceivable benefic effect (120-160 mg extract daily). The exact mechanism of why Ginkgo Biloba has such positive effects is still under debate by specialists, but while some point out that the properties of the extract might work in terms of providing the ear with a better blood supply (a decrease in the blood supply being one of the causes for tinnitus) others praise its effect against degenerative disorders (it also has positive effects for Alzheimer’s patients). Caution must however be employed in the use of gingko Biloba for patients following anticoagulant treatments, or suffering from coagulation disorders, and prior to surgical interventions.
Electrical stimulation has also been employed as a tinnitus therapy method. Electrical stimulation consists of the placement of electrodes on certain areas of the ear and the use of direct current. While effects of electrical stimulation have been quite positive, they have not usually been long lasting. The transience of the positive effects has lead to the creation of Cochlear implants. Cochlear implants receive auditory information and transmit it as electric shocks to a number of electrodes implanted in the inner ear. Along with the fact that cochlear implants can reduce tinnitus, they can also restore hearing to a degree. The problem with electrical stimulation and cochlear implants is that treatments will generally destroy all remaining auditory receptors in the ear, so these therapy options are usually only recommended to patients with severe loss of hearing.
Acupuncture has received overwhelmingly good reviews from patients, as a form of tinnitus therapy. It consists of the insertion of very thin needles in the skin covering certain reflexive areas on the body. While clinical tests that have been conducted show that much of the beneficial effect of acupuncture is related to the way this affects the psyche, the confidence the patient places in the practitioner and their level of faith in the positive outcome of the treatment, what is undeniable is that many patients have reported improvement after undergoing acupuncture treatments.
While hypnosis is a highly debated and sometimes maligned form of treatment, its benefits seem to have been tested by quite a few in tinnitus therapy. The main benefit of hypnosis is that it allows tinnitus patients to relax by reducing stress levels. A known fact is that stress is a major cause of tinnitus as well as cause for the increase of its severity, so the claim that hypnosis might be able to help with tinnitus relief is not baseless.
Some studies have shown that the administration of Zinc to tinnitus patients has diminished the intensity of its symptoms. The same can be said about the B vitamin complex, B12, B5 and B6 in particular. While others argue that these vitamin and mineral supplements only work in the case of a preexisting zinc or vitamin B complex deficiency, others have shown that even in patients with normal zinc and B complex levels, an increased intake of the two substances is beneficial. Conversely, it has been reported that vitamin E treatments could be responsible for the increased severity of tinnitus in some patients, although most sources recommend its use as part of a tinnitus therapy plan.
Sound wave treatment is a relatively new addition to the list of tinnitus treatment options, but it seems to have performed very well during testing. The method is already employed in a series of renowned hospitals in Great Britain and Belgium. Sound wave treatment is based on understanding and measuring the exact wavelength and intensity of sound for each patient’s tinnitus. Once this has been established, treatment consisting in phase shift sound customized to the patient is applied 3 times a week. A substantial improvement in a large percentage of patients has been reported after this type of therapy. The one setback this tinnitus therapy seems to have is the fact that it can, for now, only be used for pure-tone tinnitus patients.
A series of natural products are available as tinnitus therapy methods. TinnaRex (which you can find by clicking here) is a complex of herbal extracts created to promote health of the ears. The manufacturers promise that aside from offering relief from tinnitus, this product will improve hearing and circulation while also working against the degradation of the nervous system. While opinions about the product are mixed, the good seems to outweigh the bad and no negative effects of this product have been recorded so far. Please Click Here For More Info on TinnaRex
Another natural tinnitus treatment is Clear Tinnitus. Not unlike TinnaRex, this is also comprised of herbal extracts and promises temporary relief from the symptoms of tinnitus. Clear Tinnitus comes as oral capsules, so it works systemically. While reviews of this product have been mixed, from happy customers who have found relief for their problem after the use of this medicine, to dissatisfied tinnitus patients who had found that yet another potential cure had not worked for them at all, to people complaining about the taste of the product, it appears that negative side effects have not been recorded, so theoretically, the worst thing that could happen would be for the treatment not to work.
T-gone remedies are another option for tinnitus therapy. Entirely natural, these products come with a guide to help you determine the cause of your tinnitus and as such, get the appropriate type of product. Of course, the most appropriate course of action would be to advise tinnitus sufferers to seek help from a qualified physician, because the apparent writer of the guide doesn’t seem to present any similar credentials on one hand, and on the other, taking treatment without the advice of a doctor might prove to be dangerous. Opinions from buyers of the product seem very polarizing, from people who are outraged by a presumed rip-off to people who declare complete satisfaction. Please click here for more info on T-Gone Remedies.
Botulinum toxin is a suggested option for the treatment of somatic tinnitus. Somatic tinnitus appears due to the interaction of the auditory and the somatosensory system which occurs at various levels in the central nervous system. This might happen when tinnitus is associated with temporomandibular articulation dysfunctions, the whiplash syndrome and dental problems, or when changes in pitch and intensity of tinnitus sounds are conditioned by movements of the mouth of face. It has been demonstrated that by injecting the Botulinium toxin in certain neck muscles, the toxin is able to reach the nervous centers responsible for the appearance of tinnitus and modulate the auditory pathways, therefore reducing tinnitus. While this seems like a promising option for tinnitus treatment, it is still in the early stages of development.
Benzodiazepines such as Alprazolam (Xanax), Lorazepam and Klorazepam are psychoactive drugs used in tinnitus treatment, mainly to treat anxiety but also when the source of the tinnitus is the central nervous system. While some sources say that its use has resulted in the improvement of tinnitus symptoms, others show that tinnitus in some patients has gotten worse after the beginning of Benzodiazepines treatment. Another noteworthy thing is that Benzodiazepines withdrawal can sometimes cause tinnitus.
Acamprosate (Campral), a type of medicine that has been used in the treatment of alcohol dependence has recently been shown to have a benefic effect on tinnitus treatment. Tinnitus is sometimes caused by neurodegenerative factors, and research claims that Acamprosate has neuro-regenerative properties through its chemical composition. The drug is used to reduce a chemical imbalance in the brain which is usually caused by alcoholism, but its stabilizing uses have proven effective in tinnitus treatment. Unfortunately, caution must be employed in the use of this drug because of its numerous side-effects, which include strong allergic reactions, tachycardia, blood pressure fluctuations, insomnia, migraines and impotence. It is also strictly forbidden to people suffering from kidney problems.
Etidronate is a drug used in the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone-damaging illnesses, but studies have also shown that its effects can extent to treating the symptoms of otosclerosis, which include tinnitus. The results of studies have been very positive, however, one of its side effects is Osteomalacia, or bone softening as a result of defective mineralization.
Lignocaine or Lidocaine is a local anesthetic also used in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia. In some cases, it has been known to briefly relieve the symptoms of tinnitus if administered intravenously and in high doses. While popular belief points to the fact that Lidocaine would serve as a viable tinnitus treatment, its effects are only limited to the aforementioned circumstances. Furthermore, it has been known to exacerbate the tinnitus symptoms in some patients, aside from having tinnitus listed as one of the most common side-effects for its use.
Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant drug, often used in the treatment of epilepsy, which has shown positive results in controlling tinnitus, especially typewriter tinnitus. Typewriter tinnitus is named as such because the sound perceived by the patients has the intermittence of a typewriter or Morse code. In most cases, this type of sound results from a spasm which occurs at some point along the auditory nerve, generally because of a lesion or compression. The anticonvulsant effect of Carbamazepine has proven to offer relief to patients suffering from this type of tinnitus.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by humans and animals which plays an important part in the regulation of sleep patterns. Studies have shown that the administration of melatonin in tinnitus treatment might help, especially in the cases where tinnitus causes inability to sleep. While an improvement in the intensity of tinnitus has been recorded, studies are still uncertain as to which degree the administration of melatonin did improve the tinnitus symptoms. What is, however, undeniable is that the quality of sleep in tinnitus patients has improved considerably after melatonin was included in their tinnitus treatment.
Sertraline is an antidepressant which has been known to have positive results in tinnitus treatment, especially in severe cases. The improvement was shown in regards to the perceived tinnitus intensity as well as in regards to the general quality of life of the patient. Severe tinnitus can often be accompanied by psychological distress which results in anxiety and depression; therefore, in such cases the use of antidepressants is necessary and recommended.
Gabapentin(Neurontin) is a medicine created for the treatment of epilepsy, but its use has since shifted to the control of neuropathic pain. Studies have shown that it can also be an effective tinnitus treatment option, especially in patients with associated auditory trauma. However, there are some reported side-effects, which include the swelling of extremities, especially after the use of high doses in the elderly, and some reports of hepatotoxicity and pancreatic cancer under laboratory conditions have been noted.
Overall, despite the numerous types of tinnitus treatment, a definite solution for this often debilitating problem has not yet been found. While certain drugs or treatments might cause side effects and others only offer partial relief of symptoms if any, it appears that a combination of methods must be employed in order to treat, bring to a manageable level and perhaps even cure tinnitus. None of these methods or combinations of them should, however, be tested without previous consultation with a certified physician, who can help you decide what the best treatment for you might be. Before beginning any kind of treatment, investigations should be conducted to determine the source of your problem and to help create an adequate treatment plan together with your doctor.
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