Treatments for Tinnitus
Addressing tinnitus starts in your Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist’s office. We will begin by evaluating your exposure to loud noises and any trauma around the time you developed tinnitus. We will also check your ear canal and ear drum for earwax buildup, infection, or structural abnormalities. We will then discuss possible treatment options, taking into account the severity of the condition.
First, a buildup of earwax within the ear canal can reduce hearing by way of blockage or even press against the eardrum, causing tinnitus. Some patients will be sent home with instructions on self-care for removing earwax, or for more severe cases, Dr. Boger may remove the earwax at the office. Earwax removal is straightforward and safe and could improve tinnitus if it is a contributory factor.
Supplements and other remedies
Certain supplements have been put forth as an effective treatment for tinnitus. There’s no solid data to support this. Most herbal supplements, like ginkgo biloba, are relatively safe when purchased from legitimate manufacturers. However, it is always important to remember that the FDA does not regulate supplements, and their quality and purity are not overseen. There are also no conclusive studies regarding the effectiveness of vitamin and mineral supplements or herbal remedies.
White noise hearing aids
With technological advances, we now have white noise-producing hearing aids that can somewhat offset the more debilitating symptoms of tinnitus. These provide “competition” for the tinnitus, and the brain “trains” itself to ignore both the white noise and the tinnitus. Regular hearing aids which amplify the outside world also have benefit. Many people have benefited from this technology, including actor William Shatner, who publicly told his story about living with tinnitus. Use of competitive inhibition is part of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, which is one of the most effective techniques for reducing the impact of severe intrusive tinnitus.
Temporomandibular joint disorders can be treated through minimally invasive and non-invasive options, including botulinum toxin injections in the jaw, relaxation techniques, splints, surgery, and dental realignment. If TMJ issues are a cause, patients typically experience significant improvement in their tinnitus when TMJ has been improved or resolved.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Treatment
Eustachian tube dysfunction can be treated in several ways depending on its severity. The Valsalva technique is often performed to “pop” the ears, and certain over-the-counter devices mimic this mechanically, with varying degrees of success. Traditionally ear tubes were used to correct more severe and persistent ETD, but an innovative eustachian tube dilation procedure known as AERATM is available at our office and provides excellent relief in a minimally invasive manner. An evaluation is performed to see if the patient is a candidate for the procedure, and sometimes it is covered by insurance.