Not all tinnitus can be treated, regardless of cause. Common causes are earwax buildup or an obstruction, such as a tumor or cyst; an ear infection; an underlying medical condition; exposure to loud noise; and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). Treatments include antibiotics, masking devices, and surgery.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition in which a person receives sound that is not present in the environment. It is often described as “ringing in the ears,” but can include virtually any type of sound including whooshing, hissing, or whistling. There are many possible causes for tinnitus, but most cases are related to damage to the auditory system.
How is tinnitus diagnosed?
To find the possible cause of your tinnitus, Dr. Leeman or Dr. Spinuzza will examine your ears, head, and neck, and test as follows:
- Hearing: Sounds are played into each ear separately, through headphones, and you will let the practitioner know when you hear a sound.
- Movement: Changes or worsening to your tinnitus when you clench your jaw, move your eyes, neck, or limbs may indicate an underlying medical problem that needs treatment.
- Imaging tests: CT or MRI scans can show areas that might warrant surgical intervention.
What treatments address specific issues?
- Earwax buildup: The earwax will be removed, frequently by suction.
- Ear infection: You may be prescribed an antibiotic and hydrocortisone ear drops to relieve itching.
- Tumor, cyst, or otosclerosis (an abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear): These can also cause hearing loss and are most often treated by surgical removal.
In some severe cases of tinnitus, certain medications can be prescribed, including:
- Tricyclic antidepressants
They may be placed in the middle ear, along with a steroid. Note that these are all addictive medications. When no treatable underlying medical cause is found, tinnitus can be reduced with a masking device, such as the SoundCure Serenade, which relieves tinnitus by addressing the underlying neurological cause.
Introducing SoundCure Serenade
Did you know that 1 in 10 adults in America suffer from tinnitus, or ringing in the ears? Many tinnitus sufferers have been told to live with it and do not realize that treatment is available. At the office of Daniel J. Leeman, MD, we are happy to offer a new sound therapy that is designed to bring you relief.
The SoundCure Serenade is a complete, FDA-approved sound therapy solution based on acoustic research conducted by leading university researchers. Unlike other approaches, the Serenade is easy to use, portable, and customized to each patient’s unique tinnitus.
How does the SoundCure Serenade work?
The Serenade tinnitus treatment consists of a handheld device, earphones, and proprietary, customized treatment sounds called S-Tones. Research shows that these treatment sounds address the underlying neurological cause of tinnitus.
After a tinnitus evaluation, including a comprehensive hearing evaluation and tinnitus pitch and loudness matching, the Serenade device is programmed to play the sounds most likely to be effective for that individual. This approach may be used to provide immediate relief and can give long term benefits when used as part of an ongoing tinnitus treatment program.
What are the features of Serenade?
- FDA Cleared
- Customized to your specific tinnitus
- S-Tones developed by leading hearing experts
- Technology based on advanced, scientific research
- Includes Sleep-Assist, a 60-minute tone to help you peacefully fall asleep
- Offers 4 distinct sounds, allowing you to select the one that works best for you day or night
- Independent left and right volume controls offer maximum flexibility, comfort, and customization
Am I a candidate for tinnitus treatment?
Virtually anyone suffering from tinnitus could be a candidate for one or another treatment option. The important thing is to have your situation evaluated early so that any underlying condition can be treated quickly and, possibly, reduce the tinnitus or prevent it from becoming worse.
Early diagnosis and treatment can also mitigate other health-related issues. For example:
- An infection anywhere in the body, regardless of where it begins, can spread and cause other problems.
- An untreated tumor or cyst may continue to grow, causing issues with blood flow or neurological signaling to the brain.
- A buildup of earwax can cause dizziness.
Why choose Drs. Leeman and Spinuzza for tinnitus treatment?
Dr. Leeman is a double-board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon with nearly 20 years of experience. Should your tinnitus stem from a cyst, a tumor, or any other source requiring surgical intervention, you can depend on his expertise to provide the highest level of care possible.
Dr. Rachel Spinuzza is a Doctor of Audiology who is also a published researcher and lecturer in the field. She has worked with both children and adults and has extensive experience with those who have undergone chemotherapy treatment and those with craniofacial abnormalities. She is an excellent diagnostician who prides herself on finding the correct treatment for each, individual patient.
What can I expect at the Mueller Surgery Center?
The Mueller Surgical Center is a state-of-the-art facility with an array of advanced onsite testing equipment that includes traditional pure-tone air and bone conduction testing, middle ear analysis, and state-of-the-art diagnostic OAE testing.
OAE stands for otoacoustic emissions, which is the name for the sounds produced by the cochlea. These sounds are used to test the function of the hair cells, the auditory nerve, and other parts of the ear. A test typically performed on newborn babies, the otoacoustic emissions test is used to detect deafness, partially estimate hearing sensitivity, and test for functional (non-organic) hearing loss. If you wish to find out more, give us a call and schedule a consultation for one of the best tinnitus treatments Austin, TX has to offer.