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What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a widespread condition affecting up to 50 million Americans. Sufferers perceive sound in the ear or head even though there is no external or environmental sound creating it. Tinnitus can sound different to each person. Patients report sounds like ringing, buzzing, hissing, clicking, roaring or beeping.
For some, tinnitus is a distraction or annoyance. But for others, it can be debilitating. It is estimated that 10% to 15% of adults have prolonged tinnitus requiring medical evaluation and approximately 2 million Americans suffer from severe tinnitus. These patients can experience loss of sleep, an inability to relax, lack of concentration, sensitivity to loud sounds, and a negative impact on work, family, and social life.
What causes tinnitus? Common causes of tinnitus are exposure to loud noises and hearing loss. Tinnitus can also be triggered by medications, caffeine, trauma/head injury, temporal mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), depression and anxiety. For some patients, there is no known cause of their tinnitus.
What can I do about my tinnitus?
For patients who have hearing loss, we recommend being fit with hearing aids. Many times, patients report hearing aids mask the tinnitus and it becomes less noticeable. Many hearing aids now already come with a tinnitus masking program available. The audiologist can program your hearing aids to provide white noise, music, or nature sounds as a masker for your tinnitus. An appointment can be scheduled with the audiologist to complete a hearing aid evaluation.
For patients who do not have hearing loss, or who are still bothered significantly by their tinnitus, we offer the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment. Unlike other tinnitus treatments, clinical studies of the Neuromonics Treatment showed 90% of patients reported a reduction in their tinnitus disturbance of 40% or more, with a mean improvement of 65%.* These patients also reported improvements in sleep, relaxation and general well being.
How does the Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment work?
After having a medical evaluation by Dr. Herzog, patients return for a tinnitus evaluation by the audiologist. At this appointment, additional testing is performed which allows the audiologist to determine if the patient is a good candidate for the Neuromonics Treatment. Patients can also try a Neuromonics demonstration device at this appointment.
The Treatment uses music that is customized for each patient to target the neurological processes underlying the tinnitus. By embedding a signal into the customized music, the Neuromonics Treatment retrains the brain to stop paying attention to the tinnitus and also to stop reacting negatively to it. Patients listen to the music for 2 to 4 hours a day, typically when they are most bothered by the tinnitus, and during regular daily activities such as reading, cooking or using the computer. Treatment typically lasts 6 to 12 months and during this time the patient becomes desensitized to the tinnitus. During the treatment process, regular follow-up visits are scheduled with the audiologist to provide a full program of tinnitus education and support.
Information provided by Neuromonics www.neuromonics.com
*Davis, P.B., Paki, B., & Hanley P.J. (2007). The Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment: Third Clinical Trial. Ear & Hearing, 28: 242-259.
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