Hearing & Balance Doctors

Can Tinnitus Be Treated?

Can Tinnitus Be Treated?

Is there any legitimate way to treat tinnitus?

I was asked this question yesterday by a friend of mine while at church. He wanted to know if there was anything that could be done to help the ringing sound he hears in his ears.

The short answer to his question is “yes.” There are legitimate treatment options.

However, there are also some illegitimate options that should be avoided.

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, affects millions of Americans. Tinnitus can be managed in a variety of ways.

The accepted treatments for tinnitus are primarily management therapies; in other words, ways to help reduce the bothersome nature of tinnitus while not curing it.

Some physical conditions can cause tinnitus and can be cured. However, most drops/oils/pills that purport to be a cure should be treated with caution.

Tinnitus Relief

The most common legitimate treatment therapies include: treating the underlying medical cause, sound therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy, and progressive tinnitus management.

At our clinic, we primarily offer the first two therapies mentioned above: treating the underlying condition and sound therapy.

Tinnitus can be caused by earwax occlusions, sinus congestion, permanent hearing loss, and allergies. Treating the underlying condition can sometimes cure tinnitus.

For example, a wax plug can be removed in our office. A comprehensive audiologic evaluation helps us determine if an individual’s tinnitus may have an underlying cause that can be treated.

In the case of permanent underlying hearing loss, hearing aids can effectively treat the hearing loss and result in decreased tinnitus.

Sound therapy is the use of external sounds, or even noise, to stimulate the auditory system and change the patient’s reaction to and perception of his or her tinnitus. Many hearing aids have forms of sound therapy built into them.

We offer solutions from all major hearing aid manufacturers. ReSound also offers an app for smartphones (Tinnitus Relief) that is a free and effective form of sound therapy.

Tinnitus counseling is an important part of any treatment plan. We counsel and follow up regularly with all of our tinnitus patients.

Tinnitus is unique to each individual and requires a customized treatment plan.

Together with our patients, we create a plan that includes regular follow-up care. While no treatment plan has been shown to be 100% effective, we find that the great majority of our patients are able to find significant relief.

What to Do Next?

If you or a loved one is suffering from bothersome tinnitus, there is help available.

Although management therapies are not a magic pill, they can be very effective and are the only treatment options approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Please call our clinic today at (435) 688-8991 to schedule a comprehensive examination, meet with a doctor of audiology, and begin your treatment plan today.

 

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Dr. Ryan Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker joined Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2009. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in 2005 with his Bachelors of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He then received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Arizona where he minored in Cognitive Neuroscience (the study of how people perceive sound). While at the University of Arizona, he specialized in evoked potentials, specifically researching Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials and the Acoustic Change Complex. He gained clinical experience at Tucson Ear, Nose, and Throat; St. Joseph’s Hospital Balance Center; Arizona Hearing Specialists; and the Center for Hearing Impaired Children. Dr. Whitaker was raised in Orem, Utah with three older sisters and a younger brother (who is also an audiologist). His grandfather was a cartoonist for the Walt Disney Studios where he drew Donald Duck and many characters in Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland before starting the BYU Motion Picture Studio. Dr. Whitaker is married and has three sons. He is passionate about college football and also enjoys hiking in Southern Utah, reading, and traveling. He has traveled extensively through South Asia including Thailand, India, Nepal, and a church mission to the Philippines.

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