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TMS for Tinnitus
Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus affects approximately bout 15 to 20 percent of the population. Tinnitus is not a condition, itself, rather it is a symptom of an separate underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear trauma, or a circulatory system disorder.
Although bothersome, tinnitus usually isn’t a sign of something serious. Although it can worsen with age, for many people, tinnitus can improve with treatment. Treating an identified underlying cause sometimes helps. Other treatments reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Tinnitus is characterized by the sensation of hearing sound, when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms may include the following phantom noises in one’s ears:
These phantom noises can vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and may be experienced in either or both ears. In serious cases, the perceived sound can be so loud that it interferes with one’s ability to concentrate or hear external sounds. Tinnitus may be intermittent, or present all the time
2 Types of Tinnitus
- Subjective tinnitus – tinnitus that only the sufferer can hear. This is the most common type of tinnitus. It can be caused by ear impairments in the outer, middle or inner ear. It may also be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the area of the brain that interprets nerve signals as sound (auditory pathways).
- Objective tinnitus – tinnitus that can be heard by and examiner, when he or she does an examination. This is a rare type of tinnitus and may be caused by a blood vessel (vascular) impairment, a middle ear bone condition, or muscle contractions.
Multiple health conditions can cause or intensify tinnitus. Troublingly, in many cases, an exact cause of Tinnitus is never discovered.
One of the more common causes of Tinnitus is inner ear hair cell damage. These tiny, delicate hairs in the inner ear are a key structure required for the complex procedure of the brain’s processing of sound. If there is damage to these minute inner ear hairs, they can “leak” random electrical impulses to the brain, which can cause Tinnitus.
Other causes of Tinnitus include other ear impairments, chronic health conditions, and trauma or conditions that impair the nerves in the ear, or nerves in the the hearing center of the brain.
In many people, the above cause of tinnitus are most often precipitated by one of the following:
- Age-related hearing loss. For many, starting around aged 60, hear deteriorates. Hearing loss can cause tinnitus. This is called presbycusis.
- Exposure to loud noise. Loud noises, such as those caused by firearms, heavy equipment, jack hammers or chain saws are common sources of noise-related hearing loss. Head phones set at too high a volume for an extended period of time can also cause noise-related hearing loss. While Tinnitus that is resultant from short-term loud noise exposure like a loud music concert, usually resolves; however, long-term and short-term exposure to loud sound can cause permanent hearing impairment.
- Earwax blockage. Excessive earwax causes hearing loss, and/or irritation of the eardrum, which can cause tinnitus.
- Ear bone changes. Stiffening of the bones in your middle ear (otosclerosis) may impair hearing and can cause tinnitus. This condition, caused by abnormal bone growth, tends to be genetic, but can be caused by external conditions, such as ‘Swimmer’s Ear’.
Less Common Causes of Tinnitus
- Meniere’s disease – an inner ear disorder caused by abnormal inner ear fluid pressure.
- TMJ disorders – impairments of the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint on either side of the head in front of the ears, where the lower jawbone meets the skull.
- Head or Neck Injuries – trauma to the head; these injuries generally cause tinnitus in only one ear.
- Acoustic neuroma – this noncancerous (benign) tumor on the cranial nerve that extends from the brain to the inner ear. This condition generally causes tinnitus in only one ear.
- Eustachian tube dysfunction. Dysfunction in the tube connecting the middle ear to the upper throat, wherein the tub remains expanded all the time. Significant weight loss, pregnancy, and radiation therapy can cause this dysfunction.
- Muscle spasms in the inner ear. Spasming of the muscles in the inner ear. This can occur for no explainable reason, but it may also be caused by neurologic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
Medications that can cause tinnitus
Many medications may cause or intensify Tinnitus. Generally, the higher the dose of these medications, the worse the Tinnitus becomes. Medications known to cause or worsen tinnitus include:
- Antibiotics, including polymyxin B, erythromycin, vancomycin (Vancocin HCL, Firvanq) and neomycin
- Cancer medications, including methotrexate (Trexall) and cisplatin
- Diuretics (water pills), such as bumetanide (Bumex), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) or furosemide (Lasix)
- Certain antidepressants, which may worsen tinnitus
- Aspirin taken in uncommonly high doses (usually 12 or more a day)
- Quinine medications used for malaria or other health conditions
Additionally, some nicotine, caffeine, and certain herbal supplements can cause Tinnitus.
- Loud noise exposure
- Gender – Men are more likely than women to experience tinnitus.
- Cardiovascular problems
Tinnitus can profoundly affect quality of life. The following symptoms commonly accompany tinnitus:
- Concentration Difficulty
- Memory Impairment
Historical Treatment for Tinnitus
There is no historical cure for Tinnitus. Medication cannot resolve Tinnitus. Treatments for Tinnitus have only the hope of reducing symptoms
TMS Treatment for Tinnitus
TMS has proved to be highly effective in demonstrably reducing Tinnitus symptoms. Our San Diego Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Center provides TMS Therapy for Tinnitus.
TMS benefits include:
- High Success Rate – considerably higher success rate than any other treatments
- Non-Invasive – the treatment is entirely external to the body
- Non-Sedative – it requires no sedation and is relatively painless
- Minimal to No Side Effects – it has no side effects in the vast majority of patients
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Does TMS therapy work for tinnitus?
A study published in 2016 reported that 47.8% of patients receiving TMS for tinnitus saw improvement with their condition. The most significant suppression of TMS was related to patients who met the following criteria: younger age, male gender, shorter duration of present tinnitus, centrally located tinnitus, normal hearing, and the absence of sleep disturbances. On average, TMS helped those who had tinnitus lasting less than a year by 60.2%.
How does TMS help tinnitus?
When used for tinnitus, TMS is placed over the auditory cortex part of the brain. 1Hz TMS frequency seems to produce the best results in reducing tinnitus loudness. Though, each patient may react differently.