Tinnitus is a physical condition in which a sound is perceived in the ears or head in the absence of any corresponding external stimulation. Perception and level of bothersome of the sound varies per individual. Often time’s tinnitus can fluctuate in volume, sound quality and duration due to changes in stress, sleep patterns, anxiety and noise exposure. It is important to know that tinnitus is NOT a cause of hearing loss, but rather a symptom of changes within the auditory pathways and structures. Because tinnitus is a symptom rather than a cause there is no actual cure for tinnitus but there are proven ways to change the effects of tinnitus from bothersome to non-bothersome.
A summary of guidelines related to the diagnosis and treatment of tinnitus has been published by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAOHNS). In summary, an individual experiencing tinnitus should seek a professional or a group of professionals that will obtain medical history, perform a physical exam, including an audiologic exam, and identify the tinnitus’s level of bothersome. Depending on findings, proper intervention and treatment could consist of education and counseling, masking techniques, hearing aids and cognitive behavior therapy, and other customized tinnitus management strategies. Medical prescriptions for anti-depressants or anti-convulsive is further not recommended. In addition, herbal and dietary supplements have not proven in any peer-reviewed study to help alleviate tinnitus, and thus are not recommended or monitored by the FDA.
It is important to rule out any medical factors that could be contributing to or causing your tinnitus.
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