Whether it started with that rock concert that got a little too loud or the excruciating pop in the wood shop years ago, many of us have persistent ringing in the ears from time to time.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus, or the perception of sound without an external source. Experts say it’s the most common service-related disability among U.S. military veterans. Yet many people remain unsure what can be done about it.
The nation’s largest group of ear, nose and throat specialists, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, has come out with new guidelines for treating the condition, based on the latest research.
The group says many cases are minor or go away on their own, but about 20 percent of patients need some type of medical intervention.
A good place to begin is a targeted history and physical exam, which you can do with the specialists at the ENT Center of Utah. This may include a hearing test when it is appropriate. Patients who also suffer from hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid evaluation.Most patients will learn that there are plenty of methods to handle the annoying condition.
The Academy recommends against routine scans and MRIs to diagnose the condition the guidelines discourage the use of medications such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Some tinnitus sufferers have found relief from natural supplements but the panel also recommended against dietary supplements such as Ginkgo biloba, melatonin and zinc, or the use of a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, which involves the use of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.
The guidelines are neutral on the effects of acupuncture for treating tinnitus, neither recommending nor warning against this popular form of alternative medicine.
While it falls short of a cure, doctors say patients with persistent, bothersome tinnitus may benefit from learning about strategies for managing their condition, and from cognitive behavioral therapy to help them cope.