Are there New Treatments for Tinnitus?
Do you hear ringing when no one else does? No, it is not your imagination and you are not losing your mind. You are among the one in ten adults that suffer from tinnitus. What causes tinnitus? It can be the result of taking certain medications, disorders of the circulatory system, injuries to the ear, aging, changes in the bones of the ear, and several other less common causes. This condition is also quite prevalent in veterans, particularly those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a noise heard by many that can sound like ringing, hissing, whistling, or humming. It can also sound like locusts and crickets. These noises are just a few associated with tinnitus. Some people say the sounds can even sound like voices. Others say they hear something that sounds like waves or the wind.
The sounds can be continuous or at irregular intervals. Tinnitus can be mild or it can so severe that is causes other problems such as stress, depression, sleeplessness, anxiety, and problems with memory. Tinnitus treatment is often required for these complications. They do not help the tinnitus but they can relieve the problems it causes.
Although it is not a treatment it is advisable to stay away from places where noise is extremely loud, because this can cause the tinnitus to become worse. If you cannot, using earplugs is helpful. Likewise, earplugs should be worn when swimming because getting water in your ears worsens tinnitus. There are two types of tinnitus. Subjective is the type that is heard only by you and objective can be heard by your ear doctor during an examination.
Treatments for Tinnitus
Not too long ago if you were told that you have tinnitus, it is likely that you were also told there is not a cure. Some of the ways recommended for relief were using meditation for relaxation and getting your mind off the noise. Listening to soft music and using a fan when going to sleep can help to drown out the noise was another.
Finding the cause of your tinnitus is one of the considerations for treatment. The fact is tinnitus is not really a condition even though that is what it is called. It is actually a symptom of a condition.
Today treatment is looking more promising. The US Department of Defense authorized testing of a device that could help help tinnitus sufferers. The treatment includes placing a small device near the membrane that separates the inner and middle ears. This device would be used to deliver a drug to the cochlea.
This is a tube similar in shape to a snail shell that is part of the inner ear and is necessary for hearing. The device or capsule would have wireless communication so the dosage delivered can be controlled. Once the medicine is dispensed, the capsule would dissolve. This treatment has shown more promise than others thus far.
It is difficult to find a drug therapy that will help tinnitus because it is caused by many different things. Another treatment that has shown promising effects for tinnitus is neurostimulation. The cochlear nerve receives an electrical pulse at certain intervals. The treatment has shown promising effects for those with this condition.
Interesting Facts about Tinnitus
The origin of the word tinnitus is Latin and it means “to tinkle or ring like a bell”.
The Egyptians were the first to record medical treatment for tinnitus. It was called humming in the ears or a bewitched ear. Their treatments included placing tree sap, oil, herbs, soil, and frankincense into the ear using a reed stalk.
The people of Mesopotamia called it singing or whispering ear. They believed that chants would cure tinnitus.
Diuretics, antibiotics, aspirin, and NSAIDS can cause tinnitus to become worse or be the cause of it in the first place.
Tinnitus can be in only one ear or both ears. In some instances it is in neither, it is in the head.
Research is ongoing at many laboratories in the US and abroad in the hopes that a cure will be found for tinnitus. There are currently many experimental treatments being tested. As with any experimental treatments, they must be tested for safety and to ensure they produce the result that is being sought.