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Treatment of conditions causing tinnitus

( Previous post: – Treatment options for tinnitus)

Person should be assessed and investigated properly by otolaryngologist, audiologist and neurologist if required, to find any treatable condition; management of cause usually take care of tinnitus.

  • Stop medicines causing tinnitus.
  • Wax, foreign bodies can be removed.
  • Treatment of middle ear infections and fluid should be done.
  • Otosclerosis and tinnitus- Surgery and/or hearing aids; surgery may not cure tinnitus and a failed surgery can cause severe tinnitus but correcting conductive deafness (even with poor speech discrimination) allows masking effective.
  • Menieres disease- Tinnitus is difficult to treat in non functioning (dead) ear, so decision for destructive surgery should be taken with care.
  • Abnormal patency of ET- Mostly seen after weight loss, can be corrected by minor surgical correction (25% silver nitrate or diathermy)
  • Surgery for tumor
  • Hearing aids for hearing loss
  • Treatment of blood pressure/thyroid disorder/other medical conditions causing tinnitus.

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General measures and prevention of tinnitus

Management of tinnitus

Tinnitus-overview

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Tinnitus is not a disease rather an annoying symptom of myriad of conditions, caused by minor changes in the sensitive hearing system (Cochlea and auditory nerve).

Tinnitus (means ringing in Latin) is sound sensation in the ear or head, in the absence of any external source of sound.  Commonest types are hissing, roaring, swishing, rustling, buzzing, humming, or chirping.

(Photo by nathaniel)

Tinnitus varies in pitch and loudness and is more annoying in quiet surroundings, particularly at night.  It can be quite disturbing leading to sleep deprivation, depression & decreased work efficiency. Most important aspect of tinnitus is distress, irritation and distraction caused by the noise. Person often feels that such noise is a symptom of brain tumor or stroke. In most cases tinnitus is not harmful.

Patient with tinnitus should undergo thorough ENT and Audiological evaluation and if required neurological examination. ‘Nothing can be done and you have to live with it’ is to be avoided and patient should be investigated properly to find any treatable condition.

Treatment of the cause should take care of tinnitus but tinnitus may persist even after the disease causing tinnitus has been cured, When a lesion or disease process is not identifiable, then tinnitus management is more difficult.

In majority of cases our system adapts to noise over a period of time and is accepted as a part of normal environment. This process can be helped by proper reassurance and counseling. Relaxation, biofeedback and Yoga help to improve coping with the condition.

Hearing aids are helpful for tinnitus with hearing loss and tinnitus maskers are sometimes recommended. These are similar to hearing aids and generate continuous noise. Their use is based on the fact that the patient is more comfortable in a noisy environment than in a quiet surrounding.

Research shows encouraging result on the effectiveness of pharmacological therapy for tinnitus, such as carbamazepine, lidocaine, and intravenous barbiturates, but potentially serious side effects limit their use.