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Medical Treatment For Tinnitus And A New Hope

Sep 6, 2008
Many people think that there is no cure or medical treatment for Tinnitus but a recent breakthrough might prove otherwise. If you are suffering from Tinnitus then this new remedy might be just the one you were looking for.

* What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition where a person "hears" a ringing sound in one's ear despite any actual sound being present in the environment. People with tinnitus often complain of a ringing noise in their ears which drowns out all other noises, often making it very uncomfortable. This type of ringing is often compared to transient ear ringing but tinnitus is a more chronic and persistent ringing which can also take the form of roaring, chirping or hissing in some cases.

* How common is tinnitus?

It is estimated by the American Tinnitus Association that over 52 million people in the United States have tinnitus and for about 15 million of them, the symptoms are severe enough to warrant getting medical treatment. And an estimated 3 million people have a very severe case of tinnitus that inhibits them from day to day activities such as attending school or their employment.

* How can you get tinnitus?

Older people are more at risk at getting tinnitus than others but there have been reported cases of children as young as 14 getting it. Mostly, tinnitus can happen due to age related hearing loss or nerve damage in the ear, which is why it's most common among older people. Younger people can get tinnitus by exposing their ears to sudden and loud noises which can damage the ear. Tinnitus can also occur due to excessive ear wax buildup, use of certain medications, sinus infections, trauma to the lower head or neck area or medical conditions such as high blood pressure, thyroid and diabetes.

* Traditional medical treatment for tinnitus

Tinnitus used to be thought of as a purely psychological condition but not anymore. Once tinnitus was acknowledged to be a medical condition, modern day medicine has come through with prescription medication, stress and anxiety treatment and in some extreme conditions even surgery.

Typical medications use to cure and treat tinnitus have been anti depressant drugs such as Xanax, antihistamines that reduce allergies and some heart medication. There have also been some breakthroughs in homeopathic remedies that some claim to help. For those people that do not like to take traditional medication, homeopathic remedies is an alternate option.

* New breakthrough treatment for tinnitus: Neuromonics

A new treatment option for tinnitus has just been introduced by the medical community which might give new hope to people who have tried other medications and remedies and are still suffering. This new treatment is called Neuromonics or Sound Masking as it's also called. The concept of Neuromonics is simple. Low levels of sounds are transmitted into the ear by way of an earphone or earpiece, which is similar to static noise, with the intention of distracting the patient. It is hoped that this new sound will be less annoying and more comforting to the person and with time will drown out the more annoying sounds of tinnitus. Although this is not for everyone, with continued use and a little bit of getting used to, scientists believe that the brain will eventually "mask out" the annoying sounds of tinnitus and simply dial it out of perception.

Neuromonics treatment is done through a portable electronic device call the Oasis (tm). Once patients have gone through a set of hearing tests, masking sounds are customized to that patient and are loaded onto the Oasis. Patients who have participated in studies have reported that they can sleep better and also perform day to day chores better than they have been able to do.

Once a patient has been administered Neuromonics treatment for a while, the masking sound is cut back for short periods of time to let the tinnitus sound be heard. This is done so that the brain can get exposed to the two sounds alternately and gradually get used to and in tuned with the more relaxing masking sound. The goal is to train the brain to completely ignore the annoying ringing sounds and get used to a more relaxing masking sound.

Although retraining might be done successfully, the results might be short term as the brain might get accustomed to the tinnitus sounds once masking sounds are turned off. Thus doctors recommend used Neuromonics once or twice a week for 2 to 3 hours at a time to maintain the effectiveness of the treatment.
About the Author
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