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Tinnitus is perceived sound in the ear. Tinnitus is usually caused by damaged nerve endings in the inner ear hearing mechanism (cochlea). This is usually associated with hearing loss, but occasionally the hearing will be normal. If the Tinnitus is in one ear only or the hearing is asymmetrical, test should be done to rule-out inner ear benign tumors. Tinnitus that is not annoying and well tolerated should not be treated.

Treatment of Tinnitus is difficult. In our clinic we treat Tinnitus in 4 ways; electrical stimulation, medication, biofeedback and long term habituation therapy.

Electrical Stimulation involves treating the outside of the ear with a small electric current. Each treatment takes 1/2 hour per ear and 6 treatments are tried. Of 800 tinnitus patients treated with electrical stimulation at the Atlanta Ear Clinic, tinnitus was reduced in one half of the patients. Biofeedback training is typically used in conjunction with electrical stimulation. Biofeedback involves teaching the person with tinnitus to exert conscious control over the areas of the body which were thought to be outside of the control of the conscious mind. Instruments are used to sense and amplify impulses coming from body parts one wishes to alter. This information can be used by the person to modify and alter processes associated with tinnitus by relaxing muscles in the head and neck and increasing blood flow.

If electrical stimulation and biofeedback are not helpful, long term habituation therapy is recommended. This involves wearing low level noise generators in each ear 8 hours per day for 18 months and is obviously indicated for people  annoyed by their Tinnitus that have failed other treatment interventions. TRT is successful in 80% of patients treated.


Dr. Steenerson | Vestibular Rehab | Cochlear Implants | Tinnitus | Hearing Aids | Neuromuscular Facial Re-Ed | Office | Contact Us

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