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 actually 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. Smith 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.
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
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 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.