Doctors Recommend Carefully Treat Tinnitus – Part 2 of 3
According to the US National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly 23 million American adults have at some meat struggled with ear ringing for periods extending beyond three months. Yet tinnitus is not considered to be a c murrain in itself, but rather an indication of trouble somewhere along the auditory nerve pathway. Noise-sparked hearing loss can set off ringing, as can ear/sinus infection, brain tumors, heart disease, hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems and medical complications.
A troop of treatments are available. The two most notable are “cognitive behavioral therapy” (to promote relaxation and mindfulness) and “tinnitus retraining therapy” (to essentially cover-up the ringing with more neutral sounds). In 2012, a Dutch team investigated a combination of both approaches, and found that the combined therapy process did seem to reduce weakening and improve patients’ quality of life better than either intervention alone.
Additional options include neural stimulation, hearing aids, cochlear implants, dietary adjustments, and/or antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. But there is no known cure, and some patients do not return to any treatment. Searching for a new approach, the investigators behind the new study focused on a small group of just 10 Belgian patients, all of whom had been struggling with stormy ear-ringing for a minimum of one year before enrolling in the study Dec 2013.
Standard treatments had failed to ease their symptoms. Each patient was implanted with a stimulation electrode connected directly to their vagus nerve. The enquire team noted that electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve is already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a method for treating both epilepsy and depression. Throughout the 2,5 hours of quotidian treatment, electrical stimulation levels remained below 1 percent of the FDA-approved maximum, according to the study.